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ZS 7/ 


of the 



Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 98 



It is realised by few what a debt is owed to Mr. and Mrs. Con Benson for their annual 
production of immutable facts in the index. It is mainly in the future that its real worth 
will be recognised by the researcher, perhaps an officer of the Club deputed to reveal the 
inner values of the Bulletin, or a student, may be, of African ornithology in search of the 
tiresome reforms of an earlier taxonomist or nomenclatorial busybody. Then, the meticu- 
lous compilation and its reliability will certainly be recognised. I hope those who use it 
will think awhile on the work it has entailed and that all will thank the authors for its 
assured present and future use. 

The apparent and actual value of the Bulletin for publications of authors working in 
remoter places, as well as quite extensive cover of subjects submitted for publication, is 
analysed briefly in the Committee's Annual Report. 

I am as usual, though no less sincerely, most grateful to referees, the printers and the 
authors themselves for their obliging cooperation during the last 12 months in helping 
the efforts made to maintain the high standard and punctuality of the Bulletin. 



P. Hogg, Chairman (1977) 
Dr. G. Beven, Vice-Chairman (1977) 
Dr. J. F. Monk, Editor (1976) 
R. E. F. Peal,//o«. Secretary (1971) 
M. St. J. Sugg, Hon. Treasurer (1974) 
Mrs. D. M. Bradley (1975) 
C. E. Wheeler (1975) 

B. Gray(i977) 

C. F. Mann (1977) 


P. Hogg, Chairman (1977) 

Dr. G. Beven, Vice-Chairman (1977) 

Dr. J. F. Monk, Editor (1976) 

R. E. F. Peal, Hon. Secretary (1971) 

Mrs. D. M. Bradley, Hon. Treasurer (1978) 

C. E. Wheeler (1975) 

B.Gray (1977) 

C. F. Mann (1977) 

P. J. Oliver (1978) 

(Compiled by Mrs. D. M. Bradley and R. E. F. Peal) 

New Members 

Altman, Dr. A. B., ph.d., Apartado Postal 81033, Caracas 108, Venezuela. 

Cole, W. W., Jnr., P.O. Box 117, Baldwinsville, N.Y. 13027, U.S.A. 

Croucher, R. A. N., a.m.i.s.m., 93 Potton Road, Eynesbury, Cambs. PE19 2NL. 

Day, D. H., P.O. Box 84367, Greenside 2034, Johannesburg, R.S.A. 

Devilliers, Dr. P. J., Ph.D., Avenue de la Charmille 8, Bte 2, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. 

Fisher, Miss C. T., M.A., A.M. A., 2 Leopold Road, Liverpool L7 8SP. 

Fraser, M. W., The Manse, Dirleson, East Lothian EH39 5 EL. 

Furniss, Dr. W. T., ph.d., iooi 26th Street N.W., Apt. 708, Washington, DC 20037, U.S.A. 

Hall, Prof. G. A., ph.d., Dept. of Chemistry, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 

26506, U.S.A. 
Hoveling, H., 5 5 Einstein Str., 34602 Haifa, Israel. 

Insley, H.,, m.i. for., 1 Minstead Close, Harestock, Winchester, Hants. 
Jensen, H., Fraendevej 18, DK 2860, Soeborg, Denmark. 
Kakizawa, R.,, Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, 8-20 Nampeida-machi, 

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150, Japan. 
Kitson, A. R.,, 45 Channel View Road, Woodingdean, Brighton, Sussex. 
Kuroda, N., Akasaka 2-17-10, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107, Japan. 
Larsson, L.,, Pennygangen 3, S-41482 Goteborg, Sweden. 

Lewis, R. E.,, Tudor Cottage, Onston Lane, Cuddington, nr. Northwich, Cheshire. 
McKean, J. L., Div. of Wildlife Research, F. C. Pye Research Lab., P.O. Box 39998, Win- 

nellie, N.T. 5789, Australia. 
Moore, A. G., b.a., 34 Clarendon Gardens, London, N9. 
Pettet, Prof. A., ph.d., 23 Cole Park Road, Twickenham TWi iHP. 
Pine, Dr. R. S., m.r.c.s., l.r.c.p., ii Winston Avenue, New Southgate N i 1 2AS. 
Poyser, T., 281 High Street, Berkhamsted, Herts. HP4 iAJ. 
Rankin, G. D.,, 1 1 Collier Close, Thistleflat, Crook, Co. Durham. 
Ross, N., a. p.m. 1., 71 Buckingham Road, Wilmstow, Cheshire SK9 5LA. 
Taylor, M. R., 4 Police Quarters, West Hill, Romsey Road, Winchester, Hants SO22 5 DA. 


Ginn, H. B. ; Lindberg, N. P. ; Perrin, Dr. M. R. ; Smith, A. P. 

Removed from Membership 

Austin, G. T. ; Buckley, P. A. ; Carpenter, C. F. ; Edgar, R. M. D. ; Ervin, S. ; Hopkins, 
J. R.; King, D. G.; Morison, A. F.; Nichols, Mrs. H. A. J.; Tarboton, W. R.; Willis, 


The Committee much regrets to record the deaths of Adams, L. E. G. ; Harrison, Dr. J. G., 
o.b.e., m.r.c.s., l.r.c.p., (Editor 1952-1961, Hon. Secretary 1962-1964); Rhodes, 
Miss G. M. (Hon. Secretary 1949-1950); Roberts, Dr. B. B., ph.d.; Wetmore, Dr. 
Alexander, hon.m.b.o.u. ; White, C. M. N., m.b.e., m.a. 



Accounts, 1977 

Annual General Meeting ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...a 

Ash, J. S. 

Ethiopia as a presumed wintering area for the eastern Grasshopper Warbler 

JLocustella naevia straminea 
Inland and coastal occurrences of Broad-billed Sandpipers Limicola falcinellus 

in Ethiopia and Djibouti 

Sarothrura crakes in Ethiopia 

A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus griseldis in Mozambique 
The undescribed female of Harwood's Francolin Francolinus harwoodi and 
other observations on the species 

Barlow, Jon C. 

Records of migrants from Grand Cayman Island 
Benson, C. W. 

Miscaptions on Plates of weavers in works by Mackworth-Praed & Grant . . . 

See also Morgan 

Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K. and Traylor, M. A. 

Multiple original spellings oiBradypterus S wainson, 1837 

Benson, F. M. 

See Morgan 

Books Received 

Borecky, Stephen R. 

Evidence for the removal of Pseudopodoces humilis from the Corvidae ... 


The birds of Alacran Reef, Gulf of Mexico 
Brooke, M. de L. 

Inland observations of Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui on Reunion ... 
Brooke, R. K. 

Sea and coastal birds collected in Angola by H. Skoog in 1 91 2 

XIX Century Indian Ocean seabirds eggs in the South African Museum 

See also Benson 

Bruce, Murray D. 

Records of birds from Timor : some additions and corrections 
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 

Opinions 1078, 108 1 

Opinion 1101 

Burton, P. J. K. 

The Basisphenoid notch of Kingfishers ... 

See also Mann 

Campbell, Bruce 

An illustrated address on problems of gravel pits 

Clancey, P. A. 

On the validity of Alcedo cristata robertsi Peters, 1 945 
Colebrook-Robjent, J. F. R. 

An oviduct egg of the Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus 

3"3 6 >75 



























Colston, P. R. 

A new bird for Burma - Pallas's Reed Bunting Emberi^a pallasi 

Committee, Report for 1977 

Davison, G. W. H. 

Further notes on Lophophorus sclateri 
Dean, W. R. J. 

An analysis of avian stomach contents from southern Africa . . . 
Dowsett, R. J. 

A hybrid Hirundo rustica x Delichon urbica in Zambia 

See also Dowsett-Lemaire 

Dowsett-Lemaire, Francoise and Dowsett, R. J. 

Vocal mimicry in the lark Mirafra hypermetra as a possible species-isolating 

Elliott, Sir Hugh 

An illustrated address on herons .. . 

Erard, C. 

A new race oiParisoma lugens from the highlands of Bale, Ethiopia 

Feare, C. J. 
See Peirce 

Ferns, P. N. 

The onset of prebasic body moult during the breeding season in some high- 
Arctic waders 

Fisher, David J. 

First record of Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus and third record of Herring 
Gull Larus argentatus for South America 

Greig-Smith, P. W. 

Convergence between Terpsiphone corvina, T. atrochalybea and Pie^orhynchus 
alec to 

Grimes, L. G. 

Occurrence of J a van Little Tern Sterna albifrons sinensis in West Africa 
Harrison, J. G. and Harrison, P. 

An illustrated description of 'Indian Interlude' .. . 
Holyoak, D. T. 

A female specimen of Gallicolwnba jobiensis from San Christoval, Solomon 
Islands ... 

Holyoak, D. T. and Thibault, J.-C. 

Notes on the biology and systematics of Polynesian swiftlets, Aerodramus 

Undescribed Acrocephalus Warblers from Pacific Ocean Islands 
King, Ben 

A new race of Pitta oatesi from Peninsular Malaysia 
Lennerstedt, I. 

See Mann 
Madge, S. G. 

See Wood 
Mann, C. F., Burton, P. J. K. and Lennerstedt, I. 

A re-appraisal of the systematic position of Trichastoma poliothorax (Tima- 
liinae, Muscicapidae) 



















Marchant, S. 

Nuptial behaviour in the Genus Coracina (Campephagidae) ... ... . . . 1 29-1 3 1 

Morgan, P. J., Benson, C. W. and Benson, F. M. 

Bird skins from Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) in the Merseyside County 

Museums, Liverpool ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 65-68 

Peirce, M. A. and Feare, C. J. 

Piroplasmosis in the masked booby Sula dactylatra tnelanops in the Amirantes, 

Indian Ocean ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 38-40 

Ripley, S. Dillon 

An illustrated address on new possibilities in the management of endangered 

species 33 


Notes on the Rufous-capped Thornbill Chalcostigma ruficeps, & new humming- 
bird species for Colombia ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 1 5-1 16 

Thibault, J.-C. 
See Holyoak 

Traylor, M. A. 
See Benson 

Tucker, J. J. 

A River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis 'wintering' and moulting in Zambia . . . 2-4 

Tyler, Stephanie J. 

Some observations of birds in Fah, northeast Eritrea 80-87 

Waller, C. S. 
See Wood 

Warham, John 

A report on the re-discovery of the Taiko on the Chatham Islands by David 

Crockett ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 33 

Watling, Dick 

A Cambridge collection of Fijian and Tongan landbirds ... ... ... 95-98 

Wilson, Jenny and Wilson, Roger 

Observations on the Seychelles Magpie Robin Copsychus seychellarum ... ... 15-21 

Wood, Brian, Madge, S. G. and Waller, C. S. 

Description, moult and measurements of ' Montifringilla there sae ... ... 5 5-5 9 

Woodcock, Martin 

An illustrated address on the birds of Oman ... ... ... ... ... 75 

Zusi, R. L. 

The interorbital septum in cardueline finches ... ... ... ... ... 5-10 

Remarks on the generic allocation of Pseudochelidon sirintarae 13-15 


(Compiled by C. W. Benson with the assistance of 
Mrs. C. W. Benson and Mrs. M. Hawksley) 

All generic and specific names {of birds only) are indexed. Sub specific names are included only if new 
and are also indexed in bold print under the generic and the specific names. 

abyssinica, Coracias 84 

— Hirundo 142 
Accipiter badius 82 

— rufitorques 97 

— striatus 104 
Acridotheres tristis 20, 62 
Acrocephalus arundinaceus 2, 29, 81, 85 

— caffer 122-124 
Acrocephalus caffer garretti, subsp. nop. 

Acrocephalus luscinia 125-126 
Acrocephalus luscinia astrolabii, subsp. 

nop. 125 
Acrocephalus otatare 123 

— palustris 2, 85 

— scirpaceus 8 5 
Actitis macularia 104 
acunhae, Nesospiza 9 
adsimilis, Dicrurus 8 1 
adspersus, Francolinus 5 3 
aenea, Chloroceryle 74 
aequatorialis, Apus 83 
aequinoctialis, Procellaria 78 
Aerodramus 59 

— leucophaeus 60, 63-64 

— ocistus 60, 63-64 

— sawtelli 60, 63-64 

— spodopygius 61 

— vanikorensis 60, 63 
afer, Parus 1 1 

affinis, Apus 83 
africana, Mirafra 140-144 
africanus, Bubo 8 3 

— Rhinoptilus 1 1 
Alario 8 

alba, Calidris 32, 104, 11 8-1 21 

— Gygis 19 

— Motacilla 84 
albicauda, Mirafra 142 
albicollis, Merops 84 
albifrons, Amblyospiza 8 

— Sterna 114 
albipectus, Trichastoma 131-139 
albiventer, Phalacrocorax 78 
albiventris, Tachycineta 14 
albofasciata, Chersomanes 1 1 
alboterminatus, Tockus 1 1 
albus, Corvus 32 

Alcedo atthis 69-74, 87 

— cristata 74, 87-90 

— meninting 74 

alcyon, Ceryle 69, 74, 145 

— Megaceryle 105 
alecto, Piezorhynchus 41-43 
Alethe poliothorax 131 
alpestris, Eremophila 56 
alpina, Calidris 25, 118, 120 
altiloquus, Vireo 145 
amabilis, Charmosyna 96 
Amadina fasciata 86 
amauroptera, Pelargopsis 69-71, 74 
amazona, Chloroceryle 69, 71, 74 
Amblyospiza albifrons 8 
americana, Chloroceryle 74 

— Parula 106 
americanus, Coccyzus 105 
Ammomanes deserti 84 
Ammoperdix heyi 82 
Anas eatoni 78 

— punctata 3 1 

— querquedula 82 

— strepera 82 

— superciliosa 96 
Andropadus tephrolaema 66 
angolensis, Hirundo 14 
anguitimens, Eurocephalus 12 
Anomalospiza imberbis 8 
Anous minimus 120 

— - stolidus 38-39, 79, 105 
Anthreptes longuemarei 66 

— metallicus 86 
Anthus 138 

— campestris 84 

— cervinus 84 

— leucophrys 67 

— novaeseelandiae 12 

— paytensis 146 

— similis 84 

— trivialis 84 

— vaalensis 12,67 
apiaster, Merops 8 3 
apiata, Mirafra 1 1 
Aplonis tabuensis 97 
Aplopelia larvata 66 
approximans, Circus 97 
Aptenodytes patagonicus 76 
Apus aequatorialis 83 

— affinis 8 3 

— apus 8 3 
apus, Apus 83 
Aquilarapax 82 
Arborophila 112 

Ardea her odias 104 

— purpurea 82 
Ardeolaibis 82 

— ralloides 82 
Arenaria interpres 104, 118-121 
argentatus, Larus 113 
aridula, Cisticola 1 2 

ariel, Fregata 38 

arminjoniana, Pterodroma 78, 93-94 

Artamus leucorhynchus 97 

arundinaceus, Acrocephalus 2, 29, 81, 85 

ascalaphus, Bubo 83 

asiatica, Nectarinia 75 

astrolabii, Acrocephalus 125 

atricapilla, Sylvia 8 5 

atricilla, Larus 105, 113 

atricollis, Ortygospiza 142 

atrochalybea, Terpsiphone 41-43 

atthis, Alcedo 69-74, 87 

aura, Cathartes 145 

aureola, Emberiza 22 

aurocapillus, Seiurus 106 

avosetta, Recurvirostra 3 2 

ayresi, Sarothrura 26, 28-29 

azureocapilla, Myiagra 96 

azureus, Ceyx 74 

baboecala, Sylvia 4-5 
badius, Accipiter 82 

— Phodilus 14 
bairdii, Calidris 104, 121 
balaenarum, Sterna 3 2 
banksi, Pachyptila 77 
baraui, Pterodroma 90-95 
barbatus, Pycnonotus 84 
Batis molitor 66 

— orientalis 86 

— soror 66 
bellicosus, Polemaetus 82 
benghalensis, Coracias 75 
bertrandi, Ploceus 3 2 
biarmicus, Falco 82 
bicalcaratus, Francolinus 5 3 
bicolor, Tachycineta 14 

- — Tr ichastoma 1 3 1 - 1 3 7 
Bombycilla cedrorum 145 
bonelli, Phylloscopus 86 
borin, Sylvia 2, 85-86 
bottae, Oenanthe 85 
boyeri, Coracina 130 
brachydactyla, Petronia 8, 86 
brachyura, Sylvietta 86 
Bradornis infuscatus 12 
Bradypetes platyurus 4-5 
Bradypterus 4-5 
Bradyptetus 4 
brevirostris, Pterodroma 77 
Bubo africanus 83 

— ascalaphus 83 

— Iacteus83 

Bubulcus ibis 104, 109 

Buccanodon whytii 66 

Buphagus erythrorhynchus 87, 142 

Buteo buteo 82 

buteo, Buteo 82 

Butorides striatus 96, 104 

Cacomantis pyrrophanus 97 
caerulea, Halobaena 76-77 

— Pitta 109 
caeruleogrisea, Coracina 130 
caerulescens, Dendroica 106 
caffer, Acrocephalus 122-124 
caffra, Cossypha 1 2 
Calandrella cinerea 1 1 
Calidris alba 32, 104, 11 8-1 21 

- — alpina 25, 118, 120 

— bairdii 104, 121 

— canutus 121 

— ferruginea 25, 32, 121 

— fuscicollis 104 

— maritima 121 

— mauri 121 

— melanotos 121 

- — minuta 25, 32, 83 

— minutilla 105 

— pusilla 104 
Campephaga 130 

— phoenicea 129 
campestris, Anthus 84 
Campethera nubica 84 
Campochaera sloetii 129 
canorus, Cuculus 8 3 
canutus, Calidris 121 
capensis, Euplectes 67 

— Francolinus 5 3 

— Oena83 

— Pelargopsis 74 
Caprimulgus donaldsoni 141-143 

— fraenatus 83 

— nubicus 8 3 
carbo, Phalacrocorax 3 1 
Cardinalis cardinalis 6 

— phoenicea 8 
cardinalis, Cardinalis 6 
Carduelis tristis 6 
Carpodacus 8-9 

— purpureus 6 
Carpospiza 8 

carunculata, Foulehaio 97 
castanea, Dendroica 145 
Catharacta skua 78 
Cathartes aura 145 
Catharus 106 

— fuscescens 145 
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus 104 
cedrorum, Bombycilla 145 
celaeno, Rhodothraupis 9 
Cercomela familiaris 85 

— melanura 75, 85 

Cercotrichas galactotes 8 5 

— podobe85 
cerulea, Dendroica 106 
cerviniventr is, Phyllastrephus 66 
cervinus, Anthus 84 

Ceryle 68 

— alcyon 69, 74, 145 

— maxima 69, 74 

— rudis 69, 74 

— torquata 74 
Ceyx azureus 74 

— erithacus 69 

— lepidus 70, 74 

— rufidorsum 74 
Chaetura pelagica 145 
chalconota, Gallicolumba 99 
Chalcostigma herrani 116 

— heteropogon 116 

— ruficeps 115 
chalybaeus, Lamprotornis 67 
Charadrius hiaticula 1 1 8-1 1 9, 121 

— marginatus 31-32 

— pallidus 31-32 

— semipalmatus 121 

— tricollaris 82 
Charmosyna amabilis 96 
Chaunoproctus ferreorostris 8 
chelicuti, Halcyon 70, 74 
Chersomanes albofasciata 1 1 
Chionis minor 78 
Chlidonias niger 105, 145 
Chloris 8 

chloris, Halcyon 63, 74, 97 
Chloroceryle 68 

— aenea 74 

— amazona 69, 71, 74 

— americana 74 

— inda 69, 74 
chloropterus, Lamprotornis 67 
chloropus, Gallinula 82 
chlororhynchos, Diomedea 31-32, 77 
Chondestes grammacus 106 
chrysocome, Eudyptes 76 
Chrysoenas luteovirens 97 

— victor 97 

— viridis 97 
chrysolophus, Eudyptes 76 
chrysoptera, Vermivora 106 
cia, Emberiza 22 

cincta, Riparia 14 
cinerea, Calandrella 1 1 

— Creatophora 87 

— Motacilla 84 
cinereiceps, Trichastoma 131 
cinereola, Cisticola 141-143 
cinereus, Poliolimnas 97 
Cinnyricinclus leucogaster 86 
Circaetus gallicus 82 
Circus approximans 97 
cirrocephalus, Larus 32 

Cisticola aridula 1 2 

— cinereola 1 41-143 
— ■ troglodytes 54 

citrea, Protonotaria 106 
citrina, Wilsonia 106 
Cittura cyanotis 74 
clappertoni, Francolinus 52-54 
clara, Motacilla 54 
cleaveri, Trichastoma 139 
Clytoceyx rex 74 
Clytorhynchus nigrogularis 96 

— vitiensis 95, 97 
coccinea, Vestiaria 9 
Coccothraustes vespertinus 6 
Coccyzus americanus 105 
Colius macrourus 83, 142 
collaris, Lanius 12 
Collocalia 59 

— esculenta 128 

— leucophaea 60 

— sawtelli 60 

— spodiopygia 97 
collurio, Lanius 84 
collybita, Phylloscopus 86 
Columba vitiensis 97 
comata, Hemiprocne 128 
communis, Sylvia 2, 85 
concolor, Neospiza 8 

— Ptyonoprogne 14 
concreta, Halcyon 74 
Contopus virens 106 
Copsychus seychellarum 15-21 
Coracias abyssinica 84 

— benghalensis 75 
Coracina boyeri 130 

— caeruleogrisea 130 

— lineatai3o 

— montana 129 

— morio 130 

— no vaehollandiae 129-130 

— papuensis 129-130 

— pectoralis 130 

— ■ schisticeps 129-130 

— tenuirostris 129-130 
coromanda, Halcyon 70, 74 
coronatus, Vanellus 11, 142 
corvina, Terpsiphone 41-43 
Corvus albus 3 2 

— ruficollis 87 

— splendens75 
Coryphospingus cucullatus 9 
Corythornis cristata 87-88 
Cosmopsarus unicolor 67 
Cossypha caffra 1 2 
Coturnicops 26 
crassirostris, Oryzoborus 8 
Creatophora cinerea 87 
crinitus, Myiarchus 105 
cristata, Alcedo 74, 87-90 

— Corythornis 87-88 

cristata, Galerida 84 
cucullatus, Coryphospingus 9 

— Vanellus 128 
Cuculus canorus 83 

— micropterus 40 
curruca, Sylvia 86 
Cursorius rufus 1 1 
cyanea, Pitta 112 
cyanoides, Passerina 8 
cyanotis, Cittura 74 
Cygnus 7 1 

Dacelo gaudichaud 69, 74 

— leachii 74 

— novaeguineae 74 
dactylatra, Sula 38-39, 79, 103 
daurica, Hirundo 84 
deborah, Pitta no 
Delichon urbica 113, 142 
Demigretta sacra 96 
Dendroica caerulescens 106 

— castanea 145 

— cerulea 106 

— palmarum 106 

— petechia 106 

— striata 145 
dentata, Petronia 54, 86 
deserti, Ammomanes 84 
Dicrurus 40 

— adsimilis 8 1 
Diglossa lafresnayii 115 
Diomedea chlororhynchos 31-32, 77 

— exulans 77 

— immutabilis 120 
Dolichonyx oryzivorus 106 
domesticus, Passer 6 
dominicanus, Larus 78 
dominicensis, Progne 145 
donaldsoni, Caprimulgus 141-143 
Ducula latrans 97 

eatoni, Anas 78 
ecaudatus, Terathopius 82 
Edolisoma 130 
Egretta garzetta 82 

— intermedia 82 

— schistacea 82 
elegans, Emberiza 22 

— Sarothrura 27-28 
Emberiza aureola 22 

— cia 22 

— elegans 22 

— furcata 22 

— hortulana 86 

— pallasi2i 

— pusilla 21-22 

— rutila 22 

— schoeniclus 21 

— spodoccphala 22 

— striolata 86 

Emberiza tahapisi 75 

— tristrami 22 
epops, Upupa 84 
erckelii, Francolinus 5 3 
Eremomela icteropygialis 1 2 
Eremophila alpestris 56 
Erismatura maccoa 3 1 
Erithacus rubecula 138 
erithacus, Ceyx 69 
Erythropygia paena 1 2 
erythrorhynchus, Buphagus 87, 142 

— Tockus n, 84 
Erythrura kleinschmidti 96 

— pealii 97 
esculenta, Collocalia 128 
Estrilda rhodopyga 86 
Eudyptes chrysocome 76 

— chrysolophus 76 
Euodice malabarica 75 
Euphona 8 
Euplectes capensis 67 

— hordeaceus 54 
Eupodotis ruficrista 142 
eupogon, Metallura 116 
Eurocephlaus anguitimens 1 2 
Eurochelidon sirintarae 1 3 
eurystomina, Pseudochelidon 13-14 
excubitor, Lanius 84-85 

exilis, Ixobrychus 104 
explorator, Zosterops 97 
exsul, Pelecanoides 78 
exulans, Diomedea 77 

falcinellus, Limicola 24-25 
Falco biarmicus 82 

— longipennis 128 

— subbuteo 127-128 

— tinnunculus 82 
familiaris, Cercomela 8 5 
fasciata, Amadina 86 
fasciatus, Hieraaetus 82 
ferreorostris, Chaunoproctus 8 
ferruginea, Calidris 25, 32, 121 
Ficedula hyperythra 128 

— timorensis 128 
flava, Motacilla 84, 142 
flavicans, Prinia 1 2 
rlavifrons, Poicephalus 54 
flavipes, Tringa 104 
fluviatilis, Locustella 2-4 
formosus, Oporornis 106 
Foulehaio carunculata 97 
fraenatus, Caprimulgus 83 
Francolinus adspersus 5 3 

— bicalcaratus 5 3 

— capensis 5 3 

— clappertoni 52-54 

— erckelii 53 

— hartlaubi 5 3 

— harwoodi 50-55 

Francolinus hildebrandti 5 3 

— icterorhynchus 5 3 

— natalensis 5 3 

— pondicerianus 75 

— psilolaemus 54 

— sephaena 142 
Fregata ariel 3 8 

— magnificens 104 

— minor 38, 79 
Fregetta tropica 78 
Fringilla 8 

frontalis, Sporopipes 54, 86 
fulicarius, Phalaropus 121 
fuliginosa, Phoebetria 77 
fuligula, Hirundo 84 

— Ptyonoprogne 14 
fulvescens, Trichastoma 131, 139 
fulvus, Gyps 82 

— Turdoides 8 1 
furcata, Emberiza 22 
fusca, Phoebetria 77 
fuscata, Sterna 38-39, 79, 105 
fuscescens, Catharus 145 
fuscicollis, Calidris 104 

galactotes, Cercotrichas 85 
galatea, Tanysiptera 74 
galbula, Icterus 106, 146 

— Ploceus75,86 
Galerida cristata 84 
Gallicolumba chalconota 99 

— jobiensis 98-99 

— stairii 97, 99 
gallicus, Circaetus 82 
Gallinago gallinago 83, 104 

— media 27 
gallinago, Gallinago 83, 104 
Gallinula chloropus 82 
Gallirallus philippensis 95 
garretti, Acrocephalus 122 
garzetta, Egretta 82 
gaudichaud, Dacelo 69, 74 
georgicus, Pelecanoides 78 
Geositta paytae 146 

— peruviana 146 
Geospiza magnirostris 8 
giganteus, Macronectes 77 
glareola, Tringa 83, 142 
Glaucidium perlatum 11, 83 
godeffroyi, Halcyon 64 
grammacus, Chondestes 106 
griseiventris, Parisoma 46 
griseus, Limnodromus 105 
gularis, Serinus 8 
gutturalis, Irania 85 
Gygis alba 19 
Gymnomyza viridis 97 
Gyps fulvus 82 

habessinica, Nectarinia 86 

Habia rubica 9 
Halcyon chelicuti 70, 74 

— chloris 63, 74, 97 

— concreta 74 

— coromanda 70, 74 

— godeffroyi 64 

— leucocephala 70, 74, 75 

— macleayii 74 

— pileata 70, 74 

— pyrrhopygia 74 

— sancta 74, 128 

— senegalensis 74 

• — smyrnensis 69-70, 74 

— tuta 64, 124 

— venerata 64 
halli, Macronectes 77 
Halobaena caerulea 76-77 
hartlaubi, Francolinus 5 3 
harwoodi, Francolinus 50-55 
hasitata, Pterodroma 90 
Hemignathus 9 
Hemiprocne comata 128 
hendersoni, Podoces 36-37 
herodias, Ardea 104 
herrani, Chalcostigma 116 
heteropogon, Chalcostigma 116 
heyi, Ammoperdix 82 
hiaticula, Charadrius 118-119, 121 
Hieraaetus fasciatus 82 
hildebrandti, Francolinus 53 
Himantopus himantopus 83 

— mexicanus 105 
himantopus, Himantopus 83 
Himatione 9 

Hippolais pallida 85 
Hirundo abyssinica 142 

— angolensis 14 

— daurica 84 

— fuligula 84 

— lucida 14 

— rustica 84, 106, 113, 142 

— smithii 14 

— tahitica 14, 60-61 
hirundo, Sterna 32 
hordeaceus, Euplectes 54 
hortensis, Sylvia 85 
hortulana, Emberiza 86 
hottentota, Querquedula 3 1 
humilis, Podoces 36 

— Pseudopoces 36-37 
Hylocichla 106 
hypermetra, Mirafra 140-144 
hyperythra, Ficedula 128 
hypoleucos, Tringa 83 

ibis, Ardeola 82 

— Bubulcus 104, 109 
icteropygialis, Eremomela 12 
icterorhynchus, Francolinus 5 3 
Icterus 106 

Icterus galbula 106, 146 
imberbis, Anomalospiza 8 
immutabilis, Diomedea 120 
impejanus, Lophophorus 117 
inda, Chloroceryle 69, 74 
Indicator minor 1 1 
indicus, Phaethon 79 

— Vanellus75 
infuscatus, Bradornis 12 
insignis, Ploceus 32 
intermedia, Egretta 82 
interpres, Arenaria 104, 11 8-1 21 
Irania gutturalis 85 
isabellina, Oenanthe 85 
Ispidina picta 70, 74 
Ixobrychus exilis 104 

— minutus 82 

jardineii, Turdoides 67 
jobiensis, Gallicolumba 98-99 
j ohannae, Phlogoenas 98 
jugularis, Myzomela 97 

Kakamega, gen. nop. 139 
Kakamega poliothorax 139 
kleinschmidti, Erythrura 96 
Kozlowia 8 

lacteus, Bubo 83 
lafresnayii, Diglossa 115 
Lalage maculosa 97 
Lamprotornis chalybaeus 67 

— chloropterus 67 
Lanius collaris 12 

— collurio 84 

— excubitor 84-85 

— minor 84 

— nubicus 8 5 

— senator 85 
Larus argentatus 1 1 3 

— atricilla 105, 113 

— cirrocephalus 32 

— dominicanus 78 

— ridibundus 113 
larvata, Aplopelia 66 
lateralis, Zosterops 97 
lathami, Melophus 22 
latrans, Ducula 97 
leachii, Dacelo 74 
lepidus, Ceyx 70, 74 
lepturus, Phaethon 79 
lessoni, Mayrornis 97 
leucocephala, Halcyon 70, 74, 75 
leucogaster, Cinnyricinclus 86 

— Sula 104 
leucomelaena, Sylvia 85-86 
leucophaea, Collocalia 60 
leucophaeus, Aerodramus 60, 63-64 
leucophrys, Anthus 67 
leucopyga, Oenanthe 85 

leucorhynchus, Artamus 97 
Leucosticte 9 

— tephrocotus 8 
lherminieri, Puffinus 78 
libonyanus, Turdus 67 
lichtensteinii, Pterocles 83 
Limicola falcinellus 24-25 
Limnodromus griseus 105 
lineata, Coracina 130 
Locustella fluviatilis 2-4 

— luscinioides 3 

— naevia 22-24 
Lonchura malabarica 86 
longipennis, Falco 128 
longirostris, Tatare 123-124 
longuemarei, Anthreptes 66 
Lophophorus impejanus 117 

— sclateri 116-118 
Loximitris 8 
Loxops 9 

lucida, Hirundo 14 
lugens, Parisoma 43-49 

— Streptopelia 54 
Luscinia svecica 8 5 

luscinia, Acrocephalus 125-126 
luscinioides, Locustella 3 
luteovirens, Chrysoenas 97 
luteus, Passer 86 
Lybius melanocephalus 84 
-^ torquatus 66 

maccoa, Erismatura 3 1 
macleayii, Halcyon 74 
Macronectes giganteus 77 

— halli 77 
macroptera, Pterodroma 77, 94 
macrorrhina, Melidora 74 
macrourus, Colius 83, 142 
macularia, Actitis 104 
maculosa, Lalage 97 
madarszi, Serinus 67 
magister, Vireo 145 
magniflcens, Fregata 104 
magnirostris, Geospiza 8 
mahali, Plocepasser 142 
malabarica, Euodice 75 

— Lonchura 86 
malaccense, Trichastoma 1 31-137 
Malacocincla 131 

Malcorus pectoralis 12 
Malimbus nitens 8 
margaritatus, Trachyphonus 84 
marginatus, Charadrius 31-32 
maritima, Calidris 121 
martinica, Porphyrula 102, 104 
mauri, Calidris 121 
maxima, Ceryle 69, 74 

— Sterna 105 
Mayrornis lessoni 97 
media, Gallinago 27 

Megaceryle alcyon 105 
melanocephalus, Lybius 84 
melanoleuca, Tringa 104 
melanotos, Calidris 121 
melanura, Cercomela 75,85 
Melidora macrorrhina 74 
Melierax metabates 82 
Melolophus lathami 22 
Melopyrrha nigra 145 
meninting, Alcedo 74 
meridionalis, Sterna 78 
Merops albicollis 84 

— apiaster83 

— superciliosus 83, 141-143 
metabates, Melierax 82 
metallicus, Anthreptes 86 
Metallura 115 

— eupogon 116 

— tyrianthina 116 
mexicanus, Himantopus 105 
micropterus, Cuculus 40 
migrans, Milvus 82 
Milvus migrans 8 2 
minimus, Anous 120 
minor, Chionis 78 

— Fregata 38,79 

— Indicator 1 1 

— Lanius 84 

— Phoenicopterus 3 1 
minuta, Calidris 25, 32, 83 
minutilla, Calidris 105 
minutus, Ixobrychus 82 
Mirafra africana 140-144 

— albicauda 142 

— apiata 1 1 

— hypermetra 140-144 

— poecilosterna 142 

— rufocinnamomea 142 

— sabota 1 1 
Mniotilta varia 106 
Modulatrix 139 

— orostruthus 131 

— stictigula 131 
molitor, Batis 66 
mollis, Pterodroma 77 
Monarcha 41 
montana, Coracina 1 29 
monteiri, Tockus 1 1 
Monticola saxatilis 8 5 

— solitaria85 
Montifringilla 9, 56 

— nivalis 55,59 

— theresae 55-59 
morio, Coracina 1 30 
Motacilla 138 

— alba 84 

— cinerea 84 

— clara 54 

— flava 84, 142 
multicolor, Petroica 97 

musae, Oriolus 124 
Muscicapa striata 86 
Myiagra4i, 61 

— azureocapilla 96 

— vanikorensis 97 
Myiarchuscrinitus 105 
mystacea, Sylvia 86 
Myzomela jugularis 97 

naevia, Locustella 22-24 
namaquus, Thripias 84 
nasutus, Tockus 84, 142 
natalensis, Francolinus 5 3 
Nectarinia asiatica 75 

— habessinica 86 

— senegalensis 79 
Neocossyphus 139 
Neophron percnopterus 82 
Neospiza concolor 8 
Nesoclopeus poecilopterus 95, 97 
Nesospiza acunhae 9 

— wilkinsi 9 

niger, Chlidonias 105, 145 
nigra, Melopyrrha 145 

— Rynchops 105 
nigrogularis, Clytorhynchus 96 
nipalensis, Pitta 112 

nitens, Malimbus 8 
nivalis, Montifringilla 55,59 
novaeguineae, Dacelo 74 
novaehollandiae, Coracina 129-130 
novaeseelandiae, Anthus 1 2 
noveboracensis, Seiurus 106 
nubica, Campethera 84 
nubicus, Caprimulgus 83 

— Lanius 8 5 
Nyctanassa violacea 104 
Nycticorax nycticorax 82, 104 
nycticorax, Nycticorax 82, 104 

oatesi, Pitta 109-1 1 3 
obsoleta, Rhodopechys 56 
ochropus, Tringa 83 
ochruros, Phoenicurus 85 
ocistus, Aerodramus 60, 63-64 
Oenacapensis 83 
Oenanthe bottae 8 5 

— isabellina85 

— leucopyga 8 5 

— xanthoprymna 8 5 
olivaceus, Vireo 106 
Oporornis formosus 106 
orientalis, Batis 86 
Oriolus musae 1 24 

— oriolus 87 
oriolus, Oriolus 87 
orostruthus, Modulatrix 131 
Ortygospiza atricollis 142 
oryzivora, Padda 8 
oryzivorus, Dolichonyx 106 

Oryzoborus crassirostris 8 
ostrinus, Pyrenestes 8 
otatare, Acrocephalus 123 
Otus scops 1 1 

— spilocephalus 112 

Pachycephala pectoralis 97 
Pachyptila banksi 77 

— salvini 76-77 

— turtur 77 
pacificus, Puffinus 78 
Padda oryzivora 8 
paena, Er ythr opygia 1 2 
pallasi, Emberiza 21 
pallida, Hippolais 85 
pallidus, Charadrius 31-32 
palmarum, Dendroica 106 
Palmeria 9 

palpebrata, Phoebetria 77 
palustris, Acrocephalus 2, 85 
papua, Pygoscelis 76 
papuensis, Coracina 129-130 
parasiticus, Stercorarius 32 
Parisoma lugens 43-49 

Parisoma lugens griseiventris, subsp. 

nop. 46 
Parisoma subcaeruleum 1 2 
Parula americana 1 2 
Parus afer 1 1 
Passer domesticus 6 

— luteus 86 
Passerina cyanoides 8 
patagonicus, Aptenodytes 76 
paytae, Geositta 146 
paytensis, Anthus 146 
pealii, Erythrura 97 
pectoralis, Coracina 130 

— Malcorus 1 2 

— Pachycephala 97 
pelagica, Chaetura 145 
Pelargopsis amauroptera 69-71, 74 

— capensis 74 
Pelecanoides exsul 78 

— georgicus 78 

— urinatrix 78 
percnopterus, Neophron 82 
Perdix, perdix 5 3 

perdix, Perdix 53 
perlatum, Glaucidium 11,83 
perousii, Ptilinopus 97 
personata, Prosopeia 96-97 
peruviana, Geositta 146 
petechia, Dendroica 106 
Petrochelidon pyrrhonota 106 
Petroica multicolor 97 
Petronia brachydactyla 8, 86 

— dentata 54, 86 

— petronia 8 

— pyrgita 86 

— xanthocollis 75 

petronia, Petronia 8 
Phaethon indicus 79 

— lepturus 79 

— rubricauda 79 
Phalacrocorax 71, 73 

— albiventer 78 

— carbo 3 1 
Phalaropus fulicarius 121 
Phigys solitarius 96-97 
philippensis, Gallirallus 95 
Philomachus pugnax 32, 83 
Phlogoenas johannae 98 
Phodilus badius 14 

— prigoginei 14 
phoebe, Sayornis 105 
Phoebetria fuliginosa 77 

— fusca 77 

— palpebrata 77 
phoenicea, Campephaga 129 

— Cardinalis 8 
Phoenicopterus minor 3 1 

— ruber 3 1 
Phoenicurus ochruros 8 5 

— phoenicurus 85, 138 
phoenicurus, Phoenicurus 85, 138 
Phyllastrephus 131 

— cerviniventris 66 
Phylloscopus bonelli 86 

— collybita 86 

— trochilus 86 
picta, Ispidina 69, 74 
Piezorhynchus alecto 41-43 
pileata, Halcyon 70, 74 
Pinicola subhimachalus 8 
Piranga 106 

— roseogularis 9 
Pitta 14 

— caerulea 109 

— cyanea 112 

— nipalensis 112 

— oatesi 109-113 

Pitta oatesi deborah, subsp. nov. 1 10 
platyurus, Bradypetes 4-5 
Plocepasser mahali 142 
Ploceus bertrandi 32 

— galbula75,86 

— insignis 32 
Pluvialis squatarola 31, 104 
podobe, Cercotrichas 85 
Podoces hendersoni 36-37 

— humilis 36 
poecilopterus, Nesoclopeus 95, 97 
poecilosterna, Mirafra 142 
Pogonocichla stellata 66, 132 
Poicephalus flavifrons 54 
Polemaetus bellicosus 82 
poliocephalus, Turdus 97 
Poliolimnas cinereus 97 
Poliospiza 8 

poliothorax, Alethe 131 

poliothorax, Kakamega 139 

— Trichastoma 1 31-140 
Pomarea 42 

pondicerianus, Francolinus 75 
porphyraceus, Ptilinopus 97 
Porphyrula martinica 102, 104 
Porzana porzana 82 

— tabuensis 97 
porzana, Porzana 82 
prigoginei, Phodilus 14 
Prinia flavicans 1 2 
Procellaria aequinoctialis 78 
Progne dominicensis 145 

— subis 106 
Propyrrhula 8 
Prosopeia personata 96-97 

— tabuensis 95-97 
Protonotaria citrea 106 
Pseudacanthis 8 
Pseudochelidon eurystomina 13-14 

— sirintarae 13-15 
Pseudonestor 9 
Pseudopodoces humilis 36-37 
psilolaemus, Francolinus 54 
Psittirostra 9 

Pterocles lichtensteinii 83 
Pterodroma arminjoniana 78, 93-94 

— baraui 90-95 

— brevirostris 77 

— hasitata 90 

— macroptera 77, 94 

— mollis 77 
Ptilinopus perousii 97 

— porphyraceus 97 
Ptyonoprogne concolor 14 

— fuligula 14 
Ptyrticus turdinus 139 
Puffinus lherminieri 78 

— pacificus 78 
pugnax, Philomachus 32, 83 
punctata, Anas 3 1 
purpurea, Ardea 82 
purpureus, Carpodacus 6 
pusilla, Calidris 104 

— Emberiza 21-22 

— Spizella 6 

— Wilsonia 106 
puveli, Trichastoma 131 
Pycnonotus barbatus 84 
Pygoscelis papua 76 
pylzowi, Urocynchramus 8 
Pyrenestes ostrinus 8 
pyrgita, Petronia 86 
pyrrhonota, Petrochelidon 106 
Pyrrhoplectes 9 

pyrrhopterum, Trichastoma 133-139 
pyrrhopygia, Halcyon 74 
pyrrophanus, Cacomantis 97 

Querquedula hottentota 3 1 

querquedula, Anas 82 

ralloides, Ardeola 82 
rapax, Aquila 82 
Recurvirostra avosetta 32 
rex, Clytoceyx 74 
Rhinoptilus africanus 1 1 
Rhipidura spilodera 97 
Rhodopechys obsoleta 56 

— sanguinea 5 6 
rhodopyga, Estrilda 86 
Rhodothraupis celaeno 9 
ridibundus, Larus 113 
Riparia cincta 14 

— riparia 14, 84, 106 
riparia, Riparia 14, 84, 106 
Rogibyx tricolor 128 
roseogrisea, Streptopelia 83 
roseogularis, Piranga 9 
rostratum, Trichastoma 1 31-13 8 
rubecula, Erithacus 138 

ruber, Phoenicopterus 3 1 
rubetra, Saxicola 85 
rubica, Habia 9 
rubricauda, Phaethon 79 
rudis, Ceryle 69, 74 
rufa, Sarothrura 27-28 
ruricapilla, Vitia 95, 97 
ruficeps, Chalcostigma 115 
ruricollis, Corvus 87 
ruficrista, Eupodotis 142 
rufidorsum, Ceyx 74 
rufifrons, Spiloptila 86 
rufipennis, Trichastoma 139 
rufitorques, Accipiter 97 
rufocinnamomea, Mirafra 142 
rufus, Cursorius 1 1 
rustica, Hirundo 84, 106, 113, 142 
ruticilla, Setophaga 106 
rutila, Emberiza 22 
Rynchops nigra 105 

sabota, Mirafra 1 1 
sacra, Demigretta 96 
salvini, Pachyptila 76-77 
sancta, Halcyon 74, 128 
sandvicensis, Sterna 32, 105 
sanguinea, Rhodopechys 5 6 
Sarothrura ayresi 26, 28-29 

— elegans 27-28 

— rufa 27-28 

sawtelli, Aerodramus 60, 63-64 

— Collocalia 60 
saxatilis, Monticola 85 
Saxicola rubetra 8 5 
Sayornis phoebe 105 
schistacea, Egretta 82 
schisticeps, Coracina 129-130 
schoeniclus, Emberiza 21 
scirpaceus, Acrocephalus 8 5 

scita, Stenostira 12 

sclateri, Lophophorus 116-118 

scops, Otus 1 1 

Scopus umbretta 82 

Seiurus aurocapillus 106 

— noveboracensis 106 
semipalmatus, Catoptrophorus 104 

— Charadrius 121 
senator, Lanius 8 5 
senegala, Tchagra 67, 142 
senegalensis, Halcyon 74 

— Nectarinia 79- 

— Streptopelia 8 3 
sephaena, Francolinus 142 
Serinus 9 

— • gularis 8 

— madarszi 67 
Setophaga ruticilla 106 
seychellarum, Copsychus 15-21 
similis, Anthus 84 

sir intarae, Eurochelidon 1 3 

— Pseudochelidon 13-15 
skua, Catharacta 78 

sloetii, Campochaera 129 
smithii, Hirundo 14 
smyrnensis, Halcyon 69-70, 74 
solitaria, Monticola 8 5 
solitarius, Phigys 96-97 
soror , Batis 66 
spilocephalus, Otus 112 
spilodera, Rhipidura 97 
Spiloptila rufifrons 86 
Spizella pusilla 6 
splendens, Corvus 75 
spodiopyga, Collocalia 97 
spodiopygius, Aerodramus 61 
spodocephala, Emberiza 22 
Sporopipes frontalis 54, 86 
Spreo superbus 142 
squatarola, Pluvialis 31, 104 
stairii, Gallicolumba 97, 99 
stellata, Pogonicichla 66, 132 
Stenostira scita 12 
Stercorarius parasiticus 32 
Sterna albifrons 114 

— balaenarum 32 

— fuscata 38-39, 79, 105 

— hirundo 32 

— maxima 105 

— meridionalis 78 

— sandvicensis 32, 78 

— virgata 78 

— vittata 78 
stictigula, Modulatrix 131 
stolidus, Anous 38-39, 79, 105 
strepera, Anas 82 
Streptopelia lugens 54 

— roseogrisea 83 

— senegalensis 83 

— vinacea 54 

striata, Dendroica 145 

— Muscicapa 86 
striatus, Accipiter 104 

— Butorides 96, 104 
striolata, Emberiza 86 
subbuteo, Falco 127-128 
subcaeruleum, Parisoma 12 
subhimachalus, Pinicola 8 
subis, Progne 106 
subruficollis, Tryngites 121 
Sula dactylatra 38-39, 79, 103 

— leucogaster 104 

— sula 79 
sula, Sula 79 
superbus, Spreo 142 
superciliosa, Anas 96 
superciliosus, Merops 83, 141-143 
svecica, Luscinia 85 

Sylvia 47 

— • atricapilla 85 

— baboecala 4-5 
— ■ borin 2, 85-86 

— communis 2, 85 

— curruca 86 

— hortensis 85 

— leucomelaena 85-86 

— mystacea 86 
Sylvietta brachyura 86 

— whytii 66 

tabuensis, Aplonis 97 

— Porzana 97 

— Prosopeia 95-97 
Tachycineta albiventris 14 

— bicolor 14 
tahapisi, Emberiza 75 
tahitica, Hirundo 14, 60-61 
Tanysiptera galatea 74 
Tatare longirostris 123-124 
Tchagra senegala 67, 142 
tenuirostris, Coracina 129-130 
tephrocotus, Leucosticte 8 
tephrolaema, Andropadus 66 
Terathopius ecaudatus 82 
Terpsiphone atrochalybea 41-43 

— corvina 41-43 

— viridis 42-43, 75 
Tersina 8 

theresae, Montifringilla 55-59 
Thripias namaquus 84 
tickelli, Trichastoma 1 31-137 
timorensis, Ficedula 128 
tinnunculus, Falco 82 
Tockus alboterminatus 1 1 

— erythrorhynchus n, 84 

— monteiri 11 

— nasutus 84, 142 
torquata, Ceryle 74 
torquatus, Lybius 66 
Trachyphonus margaritatus 84 

Treron waalia 75 
Trichastoma 14 

— albipectus 1 31-139 

— bicolor 1 31-137 

— cinereiceps 131 

— cleaveri 139 

— fulvescens 131, 139 

— malaccense 1 31-137 

— poliothorax 1 31-140 

— puveli 131 

— - pyrrhopterum 133-139 

— rostratum 1 31-138 

— rufipennis 139 

— tickelli 1 31-137 
tricollaris, Charadrius 82 
tricolor, Rogibyx 128 
Tringa flavipes 104 

— glareola 83, 142 

— hypoleucos 83 

— melanoleuca 104 
— ■ ochropus 83 

tristis, Acridotheres 20, 62 

— Carduelis 6 
tristrami, Emberiza 22 
trivialis, Anthus 84 
trochilus, Phylloscopus 86 
troglodytes, Cisticola 54 
tropica, Fregetta 78 
Tryngites subruficollis 121 
turdinus, Ptyrticus 139 
Turdoides fulvus 81 

— jardineii 67 
Turdus libonyanus 67 

— poliocephalus 97 
turtur, Pachyptila 77 
tuta, Halcyon 64, 124 
Tyrannus tyrannus 105 
tyrannus, Tyrannus 105 
tyrianthina, Metallura 116 

umbretta, Scopus 82 
unicolor, Cosmopsarus 67 
Upupa epops 84 
Uragus 8-9 

urbica, Delichon 113, 142 
urinatrix, Pelecanoides 78 

Urocynchramus 8-9 

— pylzowi 8 

vaalensis, Anthus 12, 67 
Vanellus coronatus 11, 142 

— cucullatus 128 

— indicus 75 
vanikorensis, Aerodramus 60, 63 

— Myiagra 97 
varia, Mniotilta 106 
venerata, Halcyon 64 
Vermivora chrysoptera 106 
vespertinus, Coccothraustes 6 
Vestiaria coccinea 9 

victor, Chrysoenas 97 
Vidua 8 

vinacea, Streptopelia 54 
violacea, Nyctanassa 104 
virens, Contopus 106 
Vireo altiloquus 145 

— magister 145 

— olivaceus 106 
virgata, Sterna 78 
viridis, Chrysoenas 97 

— Gymnomyza 97 

— Terpsiphone 42-43, 75 
Vitia ruficapilla 95, 97 
vitiensis, Clytorhynchus 95, 97 

— Columba 97 
vittata, Sterna 78 
Volvocivora 130 

waalia, Treron 75 

Warsanglia 8 

whytii, Buccanodon 66 

— Sylvietta 66 
wilkinsi, Nesospiza 9 
Wilsonia citrina 106 

— pusilla 106 

xanthocollis, Petronia 75 
xanthoprymna, Oenanthe 85 

Zosterops explorator 97 

— lateralis 97 


p. 8, line 7: 'Pyrenestes\ not i Pyrinesies J 

''ory^ivora not '"ori^ivora 

p. 9, line 49: 'Parkes', not 'Parks' 

p. 12, lines 37, 44: i flavicans\ not 'flavicari' 

p. 27, line 43 : '1947', not '1974' 

p. 54, line 8 : i clara\ not ' 'clams' 

p. 55, line 36: 'S. G. Madge', not 'S. C. Madge' 

p. 84, line 14: , 'melanocephalus\ not ' ' melanocephala 

p. 84, line 19: i namaquus ', not ""namaquas* 

p. 85, line 27: i saxatilis\ not 'saxicola' 

p. 86, line 5 1 : i pyrgita\ not ''pygitd' 

p. 95, line 36: l 'philippensis\ not ''phillipensis' 

p. 97, line 32: i Prosopeia' not i Prosepeia' 

p. 98, line 32: yohannae\ not \johannoe' 

p. 121, line 12: i me/ano/os\ not ' ' melanotus' 

p. 129, line 15 : phoenicea, not ''Phoenicia' 

p. 138, line 37: i Motacilla\ not ''Moticilla 

The Caxton & Holmesdale Press, Sevenoaks 

ISSN 0007-1595 

Bulletin of the 

(^ NAT. ' 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 98 No. 1 

March 1978 


The Annual General Meeting of the Club will be held in the Senior Common Room, 
South Side, Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, London, S.W.7 at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, 
31 May 1978. 


1 . Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting. 

2. Report of the Committee and Accounts for 1977. 

3 . The Bulletin. 

4. Election of Officers. 

The Committee proposes that : — 

(a) Mrs. Diana Bradley be elected Hon. Treasurer vice Mr. M. St. J. Sugg, who is 

(b) Mr. R. E. F. Peal be re-elected Hon. Secretary. 

(c) Mr. P. J. Oliver be elected a member of the Committee vice Mrs. Diana Bradley, 
who retires by rotation. 

5. Any other business of which notice shall have been given in accordance with Rule (7). 

By Order of the Committee, 

Honorary Secretary. 


Wednesday, $1 May 1978 a.t 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, South 
Side, Imperial College, South Kensington (entrance on the south side of Prince's Gardens, 
S.W.7, °ff Exhibition Road). Mr. A. S. Cheke on "Adaption and Opportunity, or Old 
habits die hard". Those wishing to attend must send a cheque for £3.75 per person to 
Mrs. Diana Bradley, 5 3 Osterley Road, Isleworth, Middlesex with their acceptance on the 
enclosed slip to arrive not later than the first post on Thursday, 25 May 1978. 

July 1978. There will be a distinguished speaker who has attended the XVII I.O.C. at 
Berlin in June. The date of the meeting (probably 18 July 1978) and full details will be 
given in the June Bulletin. If the meeting has to be on a considerably earlier date, special 
notice will be given to all those who have attended a Club meeting in the last two years; 
any others who would like to know are requested to inform the Hon. Secretary before the 
end of May. 

Tuesday, 19 September 1978. Mr. J. L. P. Parslow on "The function of the R.S.P.B. in 
British Ornithology". 

Tuesday, 21 November 1978, jointly with the B.O.U., at Imperial College. Speakers — Mr. 
E. M. Nicholson, CB. on "The role of British Ornithologists in Europe" and Mr. P. J. 
Conder, O.B.E. on "An example of wildfowl management abroad". 

Tuesday, 9 January 1979. Mr. J. H. R. Boswall on "Mutual mimics, men as birds and birds 
as men — an ornithological frolic". 


P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chair man) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) M. St.J. Sugg {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) Mrs. J. D. Bradley 

C. E. Wheeler B. Gray 
C. F. Mann 


i , , \^Qal[Bul/. B.O.C. 197S: 98(1)] 

Bulletin of the 


Vol. 98 No. 1 Published: 20 March 1978 


During 1977 inflation continued at a high rate with postage charges for the 
Bulletin and printing charges both rising 11%. The price of dinners rose 

Meetings were held in January and July at the Goat Tavern, in May, 
September and November at Imperial College and in March, when we invited 
the International Council for Bird Preservation (British Section) to join us, 
at the British Museum (Natural History). Attendance at meetings (counting, 
in respect of the March meeting, only club members and their guests) 
totalled 179, a larger number than in either of the two preceding years. 

Leaflets with covering letters were sent to about 5 00 universities, museums 
and other scientific institutions in the past year to promote the circulation 
of the Bulletin. The response in new Bulletin subscriptions was not great, 
although it also brought in some new members, but it caused a very satis- 
factory increase in orders for back-numbers. The policy of reprinting back- 
numbers as necessary to maintain a stock of all numbers from 1952 (Vol. 72) 
to date has been continued. Stocks are also held of many earlier issues and 
details will gladly be supplied on request. 

There were 34 new members in 1977 but two members resigned and the 
membership of one was terminated under Rule (4). The Committee records 
with deep regret the death of Sir Landsborough Thomson C.B., O.B.E., 
D.Sc, Ll.D. (Hon. Secretary 193 5—1938, Chairman 1938-1943). There were 
13 new Bulletin subscribers in the year. 

The audited accounts for 1977, which are not yet available, will be tabled 
at the Annual General Meeting and published in a later number of the 
: Bulletin. 

It is of interest to note that in the last 25 years circulation of the Bulletin 
has increased whilst attendances at meetings have fallen. In 1952 there were 
185 paid-up members and 65 non-member subscribers to the Bulletin; by 
, the end of 1977 there were 293 and 140 respectively. In 1952 Club attendance 
at meetings was 508, it fell to 128 in 1969 and was 179 last year. The Bulletin 
comprised 118 pages (including index) and cost £346 (£2-95 per page) in 
1952 whereas in 1977 152 pages (including index) cost £2,320 (£15.26 per 
page). The subscription for members was then £1.05 (U.S. $2.92; Sw.Fr. 
12.85) an d 25 years after was £3.50 ($5.96; Sw.Fr. 14.60). 

There must be an appreciable number of ornithologists, at home and 

abroad, who might value membership of the Club or a subscription to the 

Bulletin^ yet be in ignorance of both. It is to be hoped that members will at 

all times bear it in mind to benefit the Club by proposing new members 

I and making the Bulletin even more widely known. 

* * * 

, The Seven hundred and tenth Meeting of the Club was held in the Senior 

[Bull. B.O.C. j 97 8: 98(1)] 2 

Common Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7., on Tuesday, 
17 January 1978 at 7 p.m. 

Chairman: Mr. Peter Hogg; present 16 members and 3 guests. 

Dr. J. G. Harrison, O.B.E., and Dr. Pamela Harrison presented 'Indian 
Interlude', being a most interesting description of a visit to India, illustrated 
by excellent slides. 

A River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis 'wintering' 
and moulting in Zambia 

by J. J. Tucker 

Received 17 August 1977 
The River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis spends the Palaearctic winter some- 
where in southern Africa, passing through east Africa, (Ash 1973, 1977, 
Backhurst et al. 1973) and possibly also west Africa. In December and 
January, individuals on southward passage occur in east Africa in Kenya and 
less commonly in Tanzania and Zambia and reappear there sparingly on 
northward passage in March and April (Backhurst et al. 1973, Benson et al. 
1 97 1, Dowsett 1972). The much larger number of records from east Africa in 
recent years — 330 of a total of 359 caught there up to 1974 being trapped 
from only 1971 to 1974 (Backhurst 1973, 1974) — compared with a Zambian 
total of 10 up to November 1976 may not reflect a genuine difference in 
distribution ; but may rather demonstrate the advantage of trapping (in the 
Tsavo National Park, Kenya) at an illuminated wall, which produces the same 
effect as a lighthouse in misty weather by attracting and grounding nocturnal 
migrants. In February, River Warblers seemingly disappear from east Africa 
and it has generally been assumed that they move south of the Zambezi 
River, to winter and moult in southern Africa. Paradoxically, in Africa south 
of the Zambezi the species is considered very rare and its status there requires 
further investigation (Dowsett 1972). This note reports the apparent "winter- 
ing" of a River Warbler in Zambia. 

At Kabulonga (1 5 25' S, 28°2i'E) near Lusaka, Zambia, a River Warbler 
was trapped on the evening of 19 Dec. 1975 and a second on the evening of 20 
Dec. (Table 1). Both birds were ringed and released. The mist-net used was 
sited between a 2 m high clump oiLantana camara bush and low thorn scrub 
on well drained ground. Passage migration of species such as Sylvia communis, 
S. borin, Acrocephalus arundinaceus and A., palustris was in progress at the time. 
Habitats of River Warblers, summarised by Moreau (1972), vary widely from 
Phragmites reeds to short grass under miombo woodland. 

Weights (g) and measurements (mm) of two Locustella fluviatilis at Kabulonga, Zambia 

Date Weight {time) Wing Tail Tarsus Culmen Primary Notes 


16 O e N 4 tongue-spots present 

13-5 slightly brood-patch absent 

* Next morning (06 hrs) weight before release was 15 • 1 g, on 23 Feb. (20 hrs) was 17-2 g 
and on 24 Feb. was 16-7 g (20 hrs). 

19.xii.75 16-5 (18 hrs)* 




20.xii.75 18-2(20 hrs) 




3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

The primaries on both wings of both birds were slightly worn but the 19 
December bird had the outer 4 primaries very fresh; yet these same 4 pri- 
maries were moulted again in February (see below). The possibility of an 
arrested moult seems unlikely and the presence of tongue-spots indicate a 
first year bird (Svenson 1970), which should not normally by then have 
moulted, certainly not initially with the outer 4 primaries. Backhurst (in lift. 
cited in Dowsett 1972) recorded 3 birds in Kenya in December with the 
identical combination of 4 new outer primaries and tongue-spots. Backhurst 
& Pearson (1976) discuss the phenomenon further, without mention of 
tongue-spots, stating that 9 autumn birds aged on skull ossification proved to 
be young birds with uniform primaries while 2 others so aged were adults 
with contrasting primaries. Ash (1973) records a River Warbler at Koka, 
Ethiopia on 16 September which was moulting its primaries and Mead & 
Watmough (1976) recorded arrested primary moult in the closely related L. 
luscinioides on the Iberian peninsula in autumn. 

Nets had not been used at the Kabulonga site earlier in the year and were 
used further on 2-4, 15-22 and 26-30 January and 14-26 February. On 23 
February the first of the two River Warblers caught in December was re- 
trapped in a net about 20 m from that in which it was originally captured 66 
days before. The bird weighed 17 -2 g at 20 hrs and when netted again about 
5 m away the next day weighed 16 • 7 g at 20 hrs. It was moulting as follows : 

Primaries: inner 6 fresh, 7th 3/5 grown, outermost 3 in pin. 

Secondaries: outermost (6th) fresh, 5th 4/5 grown, 4th in pin, innermost 3 


Retrices: all 1/5 grown. 

Head, underparts and back were in active moult as were the wing coverts, 

which were judged 9/10 fresh. 

The only other record of active moult in the River Warbler is of one in 
Zambia on 23 January in which the mantle was in heavy moult and the pri- 
maries and secondaries in early moult (Dowsett 1972). 

Weights are within the range, namely 16 -0-19 • 2 g, for Zambian specimens 
given by Dowsett (1972), with the exception of the low morning weight on 
20 December, and also within the range given by Backhurst & Pearson 
(1976), namely 13 -6-21 -2 g and Ash (1973), namely 14-8-19-8 g. 

Extreme dates of sub-Saharan records of the River Warbler, taken from 
Dowsett (1972), Ash (1973, 1977) and Backhurst & Pearson (1976) are sum- 
marised as follows : 

Ethiopia: 23 Sept.-i9 Nov. Kenya: 19 N0V.-14 Jan. 12-24 Apr. 

Uganda: one in Nov. Tanzania: one in "spring' . 

Malawi: 30 Jan. Zambia: 25 Dec-26 Jan. 26 Mar. 

Rhodesia: 25-29 Jan. South Africa: 12 Dec-19 Jan. 

There are 6 subsequent Zambian records. Singles were seen at one locality 
near Lusaka on 11 and 18 January 1975 (Stjernstedt 1975), followed by one 
near Kariba in the Zambezi Valley on 19 January 1975 (Aspinwall 1975). 
Griffin (in litt.) mist-netted 3 near Lusaka in December 1976/ January 1977. 
Until the capture in March all birds had occured between 19 December and 
26 January. 

The 19 December bird at Kabulonga, which appeared to be in a condition 
for flying any normal necessary distance, seems likely, but not necessarliy, to 
have spent the next 2 months in the neighbourhood of the trapping site. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 4 

When retrapped on 23 February it was certainly not capable of more than 
local flights, owing to its moult. It still remains to be seen where the main 
population of the River Warbler winters. 

I should like to thank Drs. J. H. Lawton and J. F. Monk for their helpful comments on 
drafts of this note. 

References : 

Ash, J. S. 1973. Six species of birds new to Ethiopia. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 95: 3-6. 

— 1977. Four species of birds new to Ethiopia and other notes. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 97: 

Aspinwall, D. R. 1975. River Warbler in the Zambezi Valley. Bull. Zam. Orn. Soc. 7(1): 21. 
Backhurst, G. C. 1973. East African Bird Ringing Report 197 1-1 97 2. Journ. E.A.N. H.S. 
No. 144. 

— 1974. East African Bird Ringing Report 1972-73, 1973-74. Journ. E.A.N.H.S. No. 

— Britton, P. L. & Mann, C. F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic migrant birds of 
Kenya and Tanzania. Journ. E.A.N.H.S. No. 140. 

— & Pearson, D. J. 1976. The southward migration of Palaearctic birds over Ngulia, 
Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 

Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. S. 1971. The Birds oj Zambia 

p. 234. London: Collins. 
Dowsett, R. J. 1972. The River Warbler, Locustella fluviatilis, in Africa. Zam. Mus. Journ. 

3(1972): 69-76. 
Mead, C. J. & Watmough, B. R. 1976. Suspended moult of trans-Saharan migrants in 

Iberia. Bird Study 23(3): 187-196. 
Moreau, R. E. 1972. The Palaearctic- African Bird Migration Systems p. 98. London: Academic 

Stjernstedt, R. 1975. River Warbler, Locustella fluviatilis ; near Lusaka. Bull. Zam. Orn. 

Soc. 7(1): 21. 
Svenson, L. 1970. Identification Guide to European Passerines p. 66. Stockholm: Natur- 

historiska Riksmuseet. 

Address: 1 Sutton Park Grove, Kidderminster, Hereford &c Worcs. DY11 6LP. 

Multiple original spellings of Bradypterus Swainson, 1837 
by C. W. Bens on y R. K. Brooke <& Melvin A. Tray lor 

Received 22 December iqjj 
The generic name of Bradypterus has long been used for a widespread group 
of tropical old world warblers (Sylviidae), most of which frequent the dense 
edges of forests where they are difficult to study. Their generic name is 
almost invariably attributed to Swainson (1837, On the Natural History and 
Classification of Birds 2: 241). However, a re-examination of this text while 
framing a catalogue of the type specimens in the University Museum of 
Zoology, Cambridge, showed that the name that Swainson proposed was 
Bradyptetus (Greek for slow flier) and that Bradypterus (Greek for slow wing) 
only appears in the index on p. 379. The problem was expanded, since the 
name Swainson gave in his own handwriting on the type specimen of the 
genotype is Bradjpetes platyurus (actually a junior synonym of Sylvia baboecala 
Vieillot, 1 8 17: 172). Bradjpetes also means slow flier in Greek, but, being a 
cheironym, has no standing in zoological nomenclature. The next author to 
allude to the genus was Gray (1840, A List of the Genera of Birds: 20), who 
called it Bradypterus Swains, without comment, a practice which has been 
followed almost universally ever since. 

We are the first workers to set out this case of multiple original spellings, 
and in the light of Recommendation 24A of the International Code of 

5 [Bull. B.O.C. 9178: 98(1)] 

Zoological Nomenclature we select Bradypterus as the correct original 
spelling of the generic name that Swains on erected for his species platyurus 
{^Sylvia baboecala Vieillot, 18 17), since this is the form almost universally 
used, and despite its inappropriateness and publication in an index. 

We are obliged to Mr. R. V. Melville, Secretary to the International 
Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, for advice on how to proceed 
i in this case. 

1 Addresses: C. W. Benson, Dept. of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, 

R. K. Brooke, Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, 
South Africa; 

Melvin A. Traylor, Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore 
Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605, U.S.A. 

The interorbital septum in cardueline finches 

by R. L. Zusi 

Received 29 October 19JJ 
The Carduelinae (sensu Howell, Paynter & Rand in Peters 1968) are a well- 
defined group of finches that differ from other finches in various aspects of 
their anatomy and behaviour (for discussion and references see Mayr et al. 
1956, Ziswiler 1965, Ackermann 1967). Some of the genera presently included 
in the Carduelinae have been little studied and are placed in that subfamily 
because of their external similarity to better-known carduelines, or because 
of their geographical distribution. This paper deals with the interorbital 
septum of the skull as a clue to the relationships of some controversial 
genera. Because the septum can be seen in most museum skins by removal 
of cotton from the eye or by radiographs, it can be studied in species for 
which anatomical specimens are not available. 

The conformation of the interorbital septum in species known to be 
cardueline differs consistently from that in conical- billed species known to 
be non-cardueline. To evaluate species of controversial affinity I have 
assumed that those with the cardueline type of septum belong in that sub- 
family, or within another group derived from the Carduelinae. Use of a 
single character for tentative taxonomic conclusions is here justified by the 
apparent consistency of the character and by the lack of other strong evi- 
dence for some species. 

For this study I have examined skeletons of heavy-billed or broad-billed 
forms in a wide variety of passerine families and subfamilies, including the 
Thraupinae, Tersininae, and Icteridae, and most of the genera (from Peters 
1962, 1968, 1970) of the following (the number of genera not studied is 
given after each taxon) : Emberizinae ( - 17), Catamblyrhynchinae ( - o), 
Cardinalinae ( - 2), Drepanididae ( - 5), Fringillinae ( - o), Carduelinae ( - o), 
Estrildidae ( - 9), Viduinae ( - o), Bubalornithinae ( - o), Passerinae ( - 2), 
Ploceinae ( - 1). I use the word "finch" broadly to include conical-billed 
members of these groups. 

The interorbital septum is the median partition lying between the eyes, 
extending from the brain case foward to the ectethmoid bones. In most 
finches there is a fenestra in the anterior cranial wall above each optic 
foramen. When the bony septum is complete, these cranial fenestrae are 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 6 

restricted to the cranial wall and there is no opening in the septum; this is 
the condition found in all Carduelinae and in some members of the Emberi- 
zinae, Cardinalinae, Drepanididae, Estrildidae and Ploceidae. In the Fringil- 
linae, Icteridae, Thraupinae, and some members of the other groups (except 
Carduelinae) the bony septum is incomplete because of forward intrusion of 

Figure 1. Skulls of finches showing differences in interorbital septa. A, Passer domesticus; 
B, Spi^ella pusilla; C, Carduelis tristis. CF, cranial fenestra; E, ectethmoid; IF, interorbital 
fenestra; OF, optic foramen; IS, interorbital septum. 


C F 

Figure 2. Anterodorsolateral views of interorbital septa of various finches drawn to similar 
size. A, Carduelis tristis; B, Carpodacus purpureus; C, Coccothraustes vesper tinus; D, Spi^ella 
pusilla; E, Passer domesticus; F, Cardinalis cardinalis. Each skull above is of similar actual 
size to the skull directly below. Numbers 1, 3 and 4 illustrate features described in text. 
GF, cranial fenestra; OF, optic foramen. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

Figure 3. Posterior edge of interorbital septum as seen through foramen magnum. A 
through F as in Fig. 2. Number 2 illustrates feature described in text. FM, edge of foramen 
magnum; OF, optic foramen. 

the cranial openings onto the septum, forming interorbital fenestrae (Fig. 1), 
or because of the presence of an isolated interorbital fenestra. The septum in 
the Carduelinae is thicker than that of the non-cardueline of comparable 
cranial size. The following characteristics associated with the thicker septum 
can be used to distinguish the Carduelinae from other finches with a com- 
plete septum: (1) the anterior cranial wall (between the olfactory nerves) and 
the floor of the anterior part of the cranial cavity are broad and flat (some- 
what ridged in larger species) — in non-carduelines they are narrow and ridge- 
like (Fig. 2), (2) the posterior edge of the septum between the optic 
foramina (visible through the foramen magnum) is usually broad — in non- 
carduelines it is usually narrow or knife-like (Fig. 3), (3) the septum is 
double-walled, hollow, and supported by internal bony trabeculae through- 
out — in non-carduelines it is usually thin in the middle where it becomes a 
single bony partition without internal cavity or trabeculae (Fig. 2), (4) the 
ventral border of the cranial fenestrae is usually straight from side view — in 
non-carduelines if often has a hump or dorsal projection (Fig. 2). Of these 
features only the first and third are entirely consistent throughout the 
carduelines, but all are found in many carduelines. 

The structure of the interorbital septum reflects several other attributes 
of the skull and it may show convergent or parallel similarities in various 
finches. It tends to be thicker in birds capable of strong biting and in birds 
with broad bills. In order to avoid spurious taxonomic comparisons based 
on similar adaptations I compared birds of similar size and similar bill and 
cranial proportions. In all such comparisons I had no difficulty distinguishing 
the carduelines by the septum alone, or in placing birds of uncertain 
relationship into cardueline or non-cardueline categories. Even in "unfair" 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 8 

comparisons — a relatively weak and narrow-billed cardueline (Leucosticte 
tephrocotus) with a powerful, broader-billed non-cardueline {Ory^oborus 
crassirostris), or a small species with a large species (Serinus gularis with 
Malimbus nitens) the cardueline septum was as thick as or thicker than that of 
the non-cardueline. The septum was clearly recognizable as non-cardueline 
in such strong-billed forms as Geospiya magnirostris, Cardinalis phoenicea, 
Ory^oborus crassirostris, Passerina cyanoides, Pyrinestes ostrinus, Padda ori^ivora, 
A.mblyospi%a albifrons, and Anomalospi^a imberbis. Tersina has a broad bill, 
skull, and interorbital septum, but the posterior wall of the septum (2, Fig. 
3) is narrow, unlike any cardueline with such a thick septum. Within the 
Carduelinae I have examined the interorbital septum in species representing 
all the genera and subgenera recognized in Peters, including membt rs of the 
synonymized genera Eophona, Warsanglia, Chloris, Pseudacanthis, Loximitris, 
A/ario, Poliospi^a, Ko^lowia, and Propyrrhula. Of these, only one genus, 
UrocynchramuS) has a non-cardueline septum. I have not seen Neospi^a 
concolor, a monotypic genus that is listed with the Carduelinae and also with 
the Ploceinae in Peters (1962, 1968) and is known from only 2 specimens. 
In no species of the other families and subfamilies of finches, except for the 
Drepanididae, did I find a cardueline form of the interorbital septum. 

Several taxa deserve special comment : Fringilla differs from the carduelines 
in some behavioural and structural features, but it is usually included with 
them in the Fringillidae because of similarity in other attributes (for example, 
see Mayr et al. 1956, Ackermann 1967, Foelix 1970, Ziswiler 1967). Fringilla 
has a non-cardueline septum resembling that of the Emberizinae and it 
differs from the Carduelinae in other skull features discussed by TordofF 
(1954). A discussion of its relationships lies beyond the scope of this paper. 

H. Mendelssohn has suggested (Morony et al. 1975, and in lilt.) th^t 
Petronia brachydactyla, usually placed in the Passerinae, should be transferred 
to the Carduelinae in the monotypic genus Carpospi^a based on features of 
its nest, eggs, and young. I found the interorbital septum of a skin to resemble 
that of Petronia petronia and to differ from the Carduelinae in features 1 and 3. 

Poliospi^a was said by Tordoff (1954) to be related to the Passerinae based 
on a single skeleton in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution (USNM 
347376). This skeleton was misidentified ; it proves to represent a species of 
Vidua. I found skeletons of several species of Poliospi^a to have typical 
cardueline septa and other skeletal features. 

Chaunoproctus ferreorostris, the extinct Bonin Island finch, was suggested 
by Sushkin (1924) from external appearance to belong with the cardinalines. 
Taka-Tsukasa & Hachisuka (1925) by contrast, emphasized its close resem- 
blance to Pinicola subhimachalus. Mayr & Amadon (195 1) thought it closest 
to Carpodacus, and Ridgway (1901) earlier called it "a crass-billed Carpo- 
dacus". A radiograph of a skin (AMNH 3063 54) revealed a septum much like 
that of other large-billed carduelines in its distribution of trabeculae and 
unlike the heaviest-billed non-carduelines. 

Urocynchramus pyl^owi was described by Sushkin (1927) as "a typical 
bunting [Emberizinae] in all characters of external anatomy, structure of the 
horny palate included, but with long tenth primary". Vaurie (1956) felt that 
the shape of its bill did not necessarily indicate relationship with the emberi- 
zines; he thought that its rosy pigmentation was evidence for relationship 
with the rosefinches of the Carduelinae, and he placed it next to Uragus. 

9 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

However, Paynter (in Peters 1968: 266) pointed out that "the presence of a 
bright color (scarlet) in the tail sets it apart from the rosefinches". I have 
determined that the silvery-pink ventral colour of Urocynchramus and of 
various carduelines is produced by red barbs and white, elongated barbules. 
Brighter red is associated with loss of the white barbules and thickening 
of the red barbs. Red barbs, white or grey barbules and a soft patina 
can also be found in a few of the tanagers and their relatives (Coryphospingus 
cucullatus, Rhodothraupis celaeno, Habia rubica, and Piranga roseogularis). 
Their pigmentation pattern probably evolved independently from that 
of the carduelines, and the possibility of convergence must also be 
considered when comparing Urocynchramus with the carduelines. The 
interorbital septum of a single skin (USNM 305680, adult male) though 
partly missing, is a thin, translucent sheet lacking trabeculae. This does not 
prove relationship with the emberizinae, but it does argue against inclusion 
of Urocynchramus in the Carduelinae. 

Pyrrhoplectes is a monotypic genus placed at the end of the Carduelinae 
by Paynter (in Peters 1968 : 305), who remarked that it may not be a cardue- 
line. A radiograph and direct examination of the septum in a skin show the 
septum to be typically cardueline in all of the characters listed above except 
one — the presence of a slight hump on the floor of the anterior part of the 
cranial cavity, in which it resembles Uragus and some species of Carpodacus. 

Sushkin's separation of species long thought to be closely related into 
unrelated groups — Leucosticte (Carduelinae) and Montifringilla (Ploceidae) — 
as discussed and confirmed by TordofT (1954), is further borne out by the 
interorbital septa of these genera. 

Nesospi^a acunhae and N. wilkinsi of the Tristan da Cunha island group 
were considered to be near Serinus by Mayr & Amadon (195 1) but were 
thought closest to American emberizines by others (see Rand 1955). The 
interorbital septa of these birds are not cardueline in form. 

Sushkin (1929) suggested a cardueline origin for the Drepanididae on the 
basis of a variety of skull features (not including the interorbital septum). 
Amadon (1950) argued, largely from tongue structure, that the Drepanididae 
were derived from a coerebid or other New World 9-primaried group. 
Beecher (1953) believed that a generalized tanager stock gave rise to the 
Drepanididae, but pointed out that the jaw muscle patterns of Carpodacus 
and some Hawaiian honeycreepers were almost identical. The interorbital 
septa of Psittirostra, Vestiaria coccinea, Palmeria, Pseudonestor, and Hemigna- 
thus are typically cardueline ; those of Loxops and Himatione differ in being 
thinner in the middle than those of carduelines, sometimes with a central 
fenestra in the septum. The thinner septa of these slender-billed genera were 
probably derived from an ancestor with a thicker, cardueline form of the 
septum because they retain the cardueline shape of the anterior cranial 
opening, a broader floor of that opening than is found in other slender- 
billed non-carduelines, and an unbroken vertical posterior edge of the 
septum between the optic foramina. Thus the interorbital septum adds to a 
growing body of evidence for a cardueline progenitor of the Drepanididae 
(see Bock 1972, Richards & Bock 1973, Raikow 1977) and supports Raikow's 
( T 977) suggestion that the founder species had a finch-like bill. 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to Kenneth C. Parks and George A. Clark, Jr. for 
suggesting improvements on the manuscript. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 10 

References : 

Ackermann, A. 1967. Quantitative Untersuchungen an Kornerfressenden Singvogeln. 

Journ.f Orn. 108: 430-473. 
Amadon, D. 1950. The Hawaiian honeycreepers (Aves, Drepaniidae). Bull. Amer. Mus. 

Nat. Hist. 95: 151-262. 
Beecher, W. J. 1953. A phylogeny of the oscines. Auk 70: 270-333. 
Bock, W. J. 1972. Morphology of the tongue apparatus of Ciridops anna (Drepanididae). 

Ibis 114: 61-78. 
Foelix, R. F. 1970. Vergleichend-morphologische Untersuchungen an den Speicheldrusen 

Kornerfressender Singvogel. Zool. Jahrb., Anat. 87: 523-587. 
Mayr, E. & Amadon, D. 195 1. A classification of recent birds. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1496. 
Mayr, E., Andrew, R. J. & Hinde, R. A. 1956. Die systematische Stellung der Gattung 

Fringilla. Journ. f. Orn. 97: 258-273. 
Morony, J. J. Jr., Bock, W. J. & Farrand, J. Jr. 1975. Reference list of the birds of the 

world. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 
Peters, J. L. 1962. Check-list of Birds of the World, vol. ij (E. Mayr & J. C. Greenway, Jr., 

Eds.). Cambridge, Mass. : Mus. Comp. Zool. 

— 1968. Check-list of Birds of the World, vol. 14 (R. A. Paynter, Jr., Ed.). Cambridge, 
Mass.: Mus. Comp. Zool. 

— 1970. Check-list of Birds of the World, vol. 13 (R. A. Paynter, Jr., Ed.). Cambridge, 
Mass.: Mus. Comp. Zool. 

Raikow, R. J. 1977. The origin and evolution of the Hawaiian honeycreepers (Drepanidi- 
dae). The Living Bird, ijth annual: 95-117. 

Rand, A. L. 1955. The origin of the land birds of Tristan da Cunha. Fieldiana: Zool. 37: 

Richards, L. P. & Bock, W. J. 1973. Functional anatomy and adaptive evolution of the 
feeding apparatus in the Hawaiian honeycreepers genus JLoxops (Drepanididae). 
Orn. Monographs ij. Amer. Orn. Union. 

Ridgway, R. 1901. Birds of North and Middle America, pt. 1. Bull. U.S. Nat. Mus. 50. 

Sushkin, P. P. 1924. [On the Fringillidae and allied groups.] Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 45 : 36-39. 

— 1927. On the anatomy and classification of the weaver-birds. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. 
Hist. 72: 1-32. 

— 1929. On the systematic position of the Drepanidae. Verh. 6th Internal. Orn. Kongr., 
Kopenhagen, 1926: 379-381. 

Taka-Tsukasa, N. & Hachisuka, W. V. 1925. A contribution to Japanese ornithology. 
Ibis: 898-908. 

Tordoff, H. B. 1954. A systematic study of the avian family Fringillidae based on the struc- 
ture of the skull. Misc. Pub. Mus. Zool., U. Michigan 81. 

Vaurie, C. 1956. Systematic notes on Palearctic birds. No. 20 Fringillidae: the genera 
Leucosticte, Rhodopechys, Carpodacus, Pinicola, Loxia, Uragus, Urocynchramus, and 
Propyrrhula. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1786. 

Ziswiler, V. 1965. Zur Kenntnis des Samenoffhens und der Struktur des hornernen Gau- 
mens bei kornerfressenden Oscines. Journ.f. Orn. 106: 1-48. 

— 1967. Vergleichend morphologische Untersuchungen am Verdauungstrakt korner- 
fressenden Singvogel zur Abklarung ihrer systematischen Stellung. Zool. Jahrb., Syst. 
94: 427-520. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 

An analysis of avian stomach contents from 
southern Africa 

by W. R. J. Dean 

Received 27 October 1977 
The standard reference books on African birds give generalised statements 
about the diet of most birds, but for few of them are the arthropod orders 
and families eaten identified. 

From June 1972 to July 1973 a number of birds were collected in South 

ii [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

West Africa, South Africa and Rhodesia as part of a research project on the 
blood and eye-lens proteins of birds. Stomach contents from some of these 
specimens, and from road casualties, were preserved, and have now been 
analysed. Most specimens were dissected shortly after collection and the 
contents of the gizzard and crop were preserved in 70 % ethanol. However, 
in a number of cases, the time lag between collection and dissection was 
sufficient for friable and small food items to digest or become anonymous. 

The stomach contents of each specimen are given in Table 1. None of 
the identifications was unexpected or unusual, but as noted earlier, there 
are few comparative data. 

Avian nomenclature follows McLachlan & Liversidge (1970) and insect 
taxonomy follows Smart (1962). 


Analysis of stomach contents of birds collected in South West Africa (SWA), South Africa (SA) and Rhodesia (R), 
June 1972 to July 1973. Numbers indicate the number of individuals or species recognised. The stomach contents from 
two individuals of the same species collected at the same locality within 30 minutes of each other have been pooled. 

L = larva(e) , W = worker, A = adult. 


Locality, Date 



Sp ecies & Number 


Kimberley, SA 



Hodotermes mossambicus 7W 







Fragments of 4 Coleoptera 



Fragments of 3 individuals 


Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 20W 





Coleoptera fragments + 2L 







Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 17W 


5 .vii.73 



Coleoptera fragments 


Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 20W 








Otus scops 

Erongo Mts., SWA 






Fragments of 3 spp. 


Erongo Mts., SWA 


iA, 3L 





Humani Ranch, R 







Humani Ranch, R 







Humani Ranch, R 













Gamsberg, SWA 








Fragments of 12 
Large seeds 

Indicator minor 

Erongo Mts., SWA 



Two stomachs 




H. mossambicus W 






Kimberley, SA 







Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 10W 





head capsules 


Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 10W 













Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 9W 






Pants afer 

Kimberley, SA 






[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

TABLE 1 Continued 


Locality, Date 



Species & Number 


Kimberley, SA 







3 + 


Kimberley, SA 



















Kimberley, SA 






5L, 2 spp. 





Kimberley, SA 


suborder Homoptera 


icteropy gialis 





Malcorus p ectoralis 

Kimberley, SA 



Two stomachs 





Malcorus pectoralis 

Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 3W 

Two stomachs 







2, 2 spp. 





3 . fxm 


Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 6w 







Kimberley, SA 






suborder Homoptera 



suborder Homoptera 



suborder Heteroptera 



suborder Nematocera 



Kimberley, SA 






suborder Heteroptera 






4 L 




superfamily Chalcidoidea 



Kimberley, SA 















Kimberley, SA 














Bradornis infuscatus 

Kimberley, SA 



H mossambicus 26 W 

Two stomachs 






Messor spp.+ 1 other genus 


Kimberley, SA 








1 + 

Two stomachs 








Fragments of 6 + spp. 




Kimberley, SA 



H. mossambicus 16W 







3 + 



Lanius collaris 

Kimberley, SA 




Erongo Mts., SWA 



H. mossambicusicjWI '+ 1 soldier 









Hymenoptera Vespidae 

Acknowledgements: The identification of the arthropod food items was made by John 
Bissett of Matopos Research Station, Rhodesia, and I am grateful to him for his interest 
and help. I thank the Peabody Museum of Yale University for the opportunity to collect 
this material, and Carl Vernon for his help on collecting trips in South Africa and Rhodesia. 

13 [Bull. B.O.C. i 97 8: 98(1)] 

References : 

McLachlan, G. R. & Liversidge, R. 1970. Roberts Birds of South Africa. Central News 

Agency: Cape Town. 
Smart, J. 1962. Instructions for Collectors. No. 4a, Insects. Trustees of the British Museum: 

Address: Barberspan Ornithological Research Station, P.O. Barberspan 2765, South Africa. 

Remarks on the generic allocation of 

Pseudochelidon sirintarae 
by R. L. Zusi 

Received 29 October 19 yy 

In 1968 Kitti Thonglongya described a new swallow, Pseudochelidon sirintarae,, 
from Thailand (Thonglongya 1968). Its relationship with Pseudochelidon 
eurystomina of Africa was suggested to him by similarities of plumage, bill, 
and feet, and by comments of Peter Ames on its syringeal structure. The 
syringeal structure of the 2 species of Pseudochelidon differed enough from 
that of the Hirundininae to suggest at least subfamily distinction from the 
true swallows (Mayr & Amadon 195 1, Ames, in Thonglongya 1968). Apart 
from the peculiarities that link the 2 species in a subfamily of their own, 
Thonglongya (1968: 7) commented that "the differences in size and shape 
of bill, the ridge between the nasal apertures, the size and strength of the 
feet, and the tail racquets, coupled with the geographic separation, might 
suffice to separate the 2 species into different genera". He nevertheless 
placed sirintarae in Pseudochelidon after interpreting the evidence in line with 
current taxonomic trends. 

Recently, Brooke (1972) discussed generic limits in Old World Apodidae 
and Hirundinidae. He proposed raising a number of subgenera to genera, 
resurrected several genera (but see Phillips 1973), and named a new genus — 
Eurochelidon — in the Pseudochelidoninae, for sirintarae. 

The basis for Brooke's new genus was a comparison by him of the skins 
of both eurystomina and sirintarae at the Smithsonian Institution, and measure- 
ments of both species presented by Thonglongya. Brooke made no comment 
on plumage differences, but he stated that "the differences in the shape and 
proportions of the bill and mouth show that they have very different feeding 
ecologies, sirintarae probably being able to take much larger prey and perhaps 
in different microhabitats" (Brooke 1972: 55). He then justified the new 
genus on differences in morphology, inferred ecology, and zoogeographic 
region. I think the following remarks cast doubt on this decision. 

According to my measurements of a skin and spirit specimen of sirintarae 
and 2 skins and a spirit specimen of eurystomina in the Smithsonian Institu- 
tion's collections, differences in bill proportion are much less marked than 
indicated by Thonglongya's data. In eurystomina the commissure is partly 
obscured by feathers whereas in sirintarae it is entirely exposed; apparently 
Thonglongya measured "bill from gape" and "width at gape" from the 
point where feathers obscured the commissure in eurystomina rather than 
from the angle of the mouth. His measurements of sirintarae consequently 
indicate a bill "more than half as wide again at gape, (and) half as long 
again" as that of eurystomina (Thonglongya 1968: 4). My measurements of 
the bill of 2 skins of eurystomina, all taken from the angle of the mouth, are 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 14 

J 3 "7> *3*5 (width) and 18-2, 18-5 mm (length). Comparing the average of 
7 skins of sirintarae measured by Thonglongya with my measurements of 
eurystomina, sirintarae has a bill that is only 17-6% wider and 12-5% 
longer (i.e., difference as % of smaller measurement). In the 2 spirit specimens 
available to me (in which the rictus is not dried and shrunken as in skins), 
the bill of sirintarae is 22 • 5 % wider. 

To judge from wing measurements and appearance of the specimens, 
the 2 species oiPseudochelidon are similar in body size and the bill of sirintarae 
is thus proportionately longer and wider than that of eurystomina. However, 
the differences are less than was stated by Thonglongya and they are not 
greater than intrageneric differences in bill proportions found in some true 
swallows (Tachycineta bicolor and T. albiventris; EJparia riparia and R. cinctd). 

Thonglongya called the feet and claws of sirintarae "stronger and more 
robust" than those of eurystomina, but I can see no prominent difference. 
My measurements of single spirit specimens of each species suggest that 
by comparison, sirintarae has a slightly shorter tarsus, longer middle toe 
and claw, and similar hind toe and claw. 

Thonglongya showed that the tail of sirintarae, excluding the elongated 
rachis, is shorter than that of eurystomina (averaging 42 and 5 2 mm respec- 
tively). Comparable differences can be seen in other congeners of similar 
size in the Hirundinidae — Hirundo smithii and H. lucida. In both compari- 
sons the shorter tail is found in the species having long filamentous extensions 
of 2 rectrices (not included in the measurement). 

Brooke used as one of his generic criteria the restriction of the 2 species 
to different zoogeographic regions. However, within the Hirundininae we 
find congeners with somewhat comparable distributions [Hirundo angolensis 
and H. tahitka; Ptyonoprogne fuligula and P. concolor). Berlioz (1970) cited 
other examples of congeners restricted to Africa and Southeast Asia, includ- 
ing sedentary forest birds (Trichastoma, Pitta). Another parallel case is that 
of the 2 species of bay owls (Phodilus) — the sole representatives of the sub- 
family Phodilinae. One (prigoginei) is restricted to the highlands of central 
Africa, and the other (badius) occurs from India through Southeast Asia to 
the Malay Archipelago. 

Many points of difference between sirintarae and eurystomina are of the 
sort that characterise congeneric species in swallows or other families 
{sirintarae characters listed first) : eye and eye-ring white, eye red and eye-ring 
pink; bill greenish yellow with black tip, bill orange-scarlet with yellow 
tip; rictus exposed, rictus hidden by feathers; feet flesh-coloured, feet 
brownish-pink; rump white, rump black; wing-lining light brown, wing- 
lining sooty brown; central rectrices with very long filamentous rachis, 
central rectrices with very short filamentous rachis. When these differences 
are eliminated some striking similarities remain. Both species have black 
heads, contrasting sharply with a browner mantle that is identically glossed 
with soft green in sirintarae and some specimens of eurystomina (many 
eurystomina are more purplish). The rump and upper tail coverts are blacker 
than the mantle and abruptly demarcated from it in eurystomina; in sirintarae 
the upper tail coverts are black as in eurystomina but the demarcation from 
the mantle is a transverse white band (rump). Ventrally the species are identi- 
cal in colour and sheen. These detailed similarities of colour and pattern in 
the 2 species have not been emphasized in previous descriptions. 

1 5 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

I must conclude that the evidence at hand does not justify the proposal of 
a new genus for Pseudochelidon sirintarae. 

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to S. Dillon Ripley for the initial suggestion that the 
generic status of the river martins should be studied, and to Joe Marshall for helpful com- 
ments on the manuscript. 

References : 

Berlioz, J. 1970. Remarques sur les affinites des avifaunes forestieres en Asie et Afrique 

tropicales. Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 23(3): 249-254. 
Brooke, R. K. 1972. Generic limits in old world Apodidae and Hirundinidae. Bull. Brit. 

Orn. CI. 92: 53-57. 
Mayr, E. & D. Amadon. 195 1. A classification of recent birds. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1496: 

Phillips, A. R. 1973. On the supposed genus Petrochelidon. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 93: 20. 
Thonglongya, K. 1968. A new martin of the genus Pseudochelidon from Thailand. Thai. Nat. 

Sci. Papers, Fauna Ser. 1 : 1-10. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 

Observations on the Seychelles Magpie Robin 

Copsychus seychellarum 

by Jenny and Roger Wilson 

Received 27 October 1977 
The Seychelles Magpie Robin Copsychus seychellarum was originally found on 
several islands of the Seychelles group (Newton 1867), but during the last 
100 years its numbers and range have been drastically reduced and 
Frigate Island now maintains the last surviving population. 

Frigate Island is an agricultural estate, producing copra, vegetables and 
fruit, but it has now been developed for tourism, regrettably with an airstrip 
and accommodation in the same limited area which supports the greatest 
number of Magpie Robins. We visited Frigate from 24 May to 1 June 1976 
in order to carry out a census and obtain data of the Magpie Robin popula- 
tion. In the limited time available, our primary aim was to estimate whether 
the new developments were liable to jeopardise the survival of the species. 
Our resulting recommendations have been submitted in typescript to the 
British Section of the International Council for Bird Preservation. As the 
report has only a limited circulation and our observations add to the 
previously published information on the Seychelles Magpie Robin, we feel 
it is worthwhile presenting them here. 

Frigate island 

The Seychelles lie 1000 km northeast of Madagascar and c. 100 km south 
of the equator, covering 200 km 2 of the western Indian Ocean. Frigate 
Island (4 35' S, 5 5 56' E) is the most easterly of the group. It has an area 
of 700 ha and consists of a granite hill rising to 125 m at its highest point. 
The hill falls steeply into the sea around much of the island, but there are 
two flat areas on the coast, locally called 'plateaux'. The most extensive of 
these is on the east side where the main settlement and the airstrip are situa- 
ted and most of the agriculture is carried out. The second plateau, at Grand 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 16 

Anse on the west side of Frigate is much smaller. These two plateaux consti- 
tute less than 20 % of the total land area of the island. 

The vegetation of the main plateau is a mosaic of cultivated land and 
coconut plantation with many houses and gardens. There are several groves 
of large Breadfruit Trees Artocarpus altilis and a grove of Sangdragon 
Pterocarpus indicus, whilst there are many isolated trees scattered among the 
coconuts including Annona, Eugenia, Citrus spp, Terminalia catappa and 
Hernandia sonora. Grand Anse is largely coconut grove with a few tall trees 
and 2 houses. Two other occupied nouses have cultivated land around 
them, one on the path to Anse Pare above the main plateau, the other at 
Anse Pare itself. 

Most of the hilly area is wooded, in part densely so, especially in the north 
and central parts of the island. Conspicuous species include Banyan Ficus 
bengalensis and other Ficus spp, Citrus spp and Cashew Anacardium occidentak. 
Coconut plantations, with a bushy understory of Cocoplum Chrysobalanus 
icaco, cover the steep slopes dropping down to the sea, whilst there are many 
open rocky areas vegetated mainly with tall Panicum grass, Cocoplum and 
Sisal, Agave spp. To the south and east there are more open coconut groves 
with Cocoplum scrub and Stenotaphrum grassland. 

Frigate has never been colonised by rats although mice are present. Cats, 
both domesticated and feral, were introduced c. 25 years ago but most if not 
all have since been exterminated. 

The census and distribution 

The method used was to locate a Magpie Robin, preferably an adult, and 
follow it for a period of up to an hour. During that time its encounters with 
other birds were recorded and the area in which it travelled marked on a 
map. The area covered by the adults was assumed to be within their territory 
and birds which were accepted without aggressive behaviour were assumed 
to be members of that territorial group. 

High (1974) considered Magpie Robins to be non-territorial in their 
behaviour, although moving around in small family groups. However, we 
observed several aggressive encounters between groups of birds occupying 
adjacent areas, and this gave us the opposite view that the species is markedly 
territorial. The group encounters generally took the form of simple pursuit 
of intruders by one or more resident birds until the intruders had left. On 
3 occasions encounters involved all the members of adjacent groups. 
Initially, members of the two groups flew at each other, displacing their 
opponents from their perches. After several minutes, during which the 
groups had moved to and fro several times over a short distance, one group 
became gathered in one tree and the other in a tree close by. During the 
encounter the adults repeatedly displayed, adopting an erect posture with 
the neck stretched vertically and bill held horizontally, the body feathers 
fluffed out and the wings slightly held from the body. Whilst in this stance, 
the birds rocked slowly forwards and backwards, cocking their tails as they 
did so. We supposed such encounters occurred at territorial boundaries 
whilst simple pursuit occurred after a territorial incursion. 

We found 10 groups altogether each consisting of a pair of adults and in 
most cases a number of offspring, totalling 34 Magpie Robins (Table 1 and 
Fig. 1). Although we covered as much ground as possible, it is unlikely 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 


Age composition and numbers of birds in the territorial groups of Seychelles Magpie 
Robins Copsychus seychellarum observed on Frigate in late May 1976. 




Recent Fledglings 




i + i* 
































1 egg 
















Totals 20 12 2 1 

Grand total 34+ 1 egg 


* Of different ages. 

Calls heard in the territory of group 4 may have indicated the presence of a concealed 
newly fledged chick. An immature seen briefly in the territory of group 5 may have belonged 
to that group, and the behaviour of the adults in group 6 suggested they may have had a 
nest. Two adult Magpie Robins seen in a territorial dispute with the adults of group 9 
may have been from group 8 or from a territory we missed between groups 8 and 9. 

that we found every Magpie Robin on Frigate: but we believe we located 
every occupied territory on the two plateaux. Seven of the 10 groups were 
on the main plateau and one group occupied the entire plateau of Grand 
Anse. The group around the house at Anse Pare was at sea level, but the 
area around the beach and house was not extensive enough to be called 
plateau. The remaining group was at an altitude of 25 m, again close to a 
house and gardens. 

! 10 



'ig. 1. Frigate Island, Seychelles. Topography and territories occupied by Magpie Robins 
Copsychus seychellarum in May 1976. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 18 

This distribution is similar to that reported by High (1974) in May 1973, 
whilst the virtual restriction of the Magpie Robin to the two plateaux was 
also noted in 1973 by Diamond (I.C.B.P. Report 1976). It is noteworthy 
that Newton (1867) only encountered the species near the coast on Praslin 
and Marianne. 


There is little information in the literature on breeding. In November 
1867 Newton collected an immature bird on Marianne, but the gonadal 
development, of adult birds collected at the same time suggested that 
breeding would not take place for several months. Courtship has been 
described taking place in November (Lousteau-Lalanne 1962) and nest 
building was observed on Frigate in December (Vesey-Fitzgerald 1940). 
A photograph taken by Mr. P. Hutley in April 1976 shows an occupied 
nest, whilst another was reported later in the same month (M. D. England 
pers. comm.); and High observed a nest in May. Fledglings were also seen 
in April by the Bristol Seychelles Expedition (Gaymer et al. 1969). We our- 
selves found a nest and saw 2 pairs of adults with recently fledged young in 
late May. The evidence suggests a breeding season extending at least from 
December to June. 

The nest we found was on a rotted out ledge in the trunk of a coconut 
palm. It was a bulky, untidy structure of coconut fibre with a neat unlined 
cup, similar in size and material to that described by Vesey-Fitzgerald (1940) 
from Alphonse. A hole in a citrus tree, described as a disused site, was shown 
to J.W. in January 1976. Newton also mentioned a disused site in the 
rafters of a house on Marianne, to which the bird gained access through a 
hole, and was told of birds breeding in rock crevices. Both Vesey-Fitzgerald 
and High reported nests in the crowns of coconut palms. Chick calls, which 
may have come from a nest, were heard in such a site in the territory of 
group 3. A recently fledged chick was found in the same territory 2 days 

The nest we found contained 1 egg, which was not weighed or measured 
in order to minimise the risk of causing desertion. The base colour was 
olive blue, heavily speckled with olive brown. Egg colour must be very 
variable as both white (Lousteau-Lalanne 1962) and blue (Vesey-Fitzgerald 
1940) have been recorded. The presence of 2 immatures of the same age in 
4 out of 10 groups indicates that the clutch may commonly be 2 eggs. Both 
Vesey-Fitzgerald and Lousteau-Lalanne give the clutch size as 2. 

Young birds were distinguished by maroon marbling on the white wing 
patch, as first described by Newton (1867). The recently fledged chicks stayed 
in the middle of the bushes in deep shade, fed by both parents with large 
insects carried to them in the bill. The chick responded to an approaching 
adult with a loud piping call. The older immature birds were freely foraging 
for themselves. The adults generally tolerated their presence although they 
occasionally drove them away for short distances. Our impression was that 
the older immature birds would not be tolerated for much longer. 

Eight of the 10 groups definitely contained young of various ages. Three 
of the groups had young of dissimilar ages, whilst one group contained 2 
young and 1 egg. This suggests that the Magpie Robin may have 2 broods 
in 1 season. 

19 [Bull. B.O.C. J 97 8: 98(1)] 

Feeding methods and prey 

Magpie Robins were frequently seen around kitchens and houses eating 
scraps. When feeding naturally, the birds generally seemed to stay on low 
perches, often in shade, for long periods followed by swoops onto prey on 
the ground and bouts of foraging. They usually foraged singly and had 
several methods of obtaining prey. 

Ground foraging. This was the main means of obtaining food, at least in 
number of items taken and time spent engaged in it. The birds foraged over 
the ground in open areas or among leaf litter beneath the trees, picking prey 
off the surface of the ground or from under leaf litter and sparse herbs. 
Gleaning. Insects were picked off foliage in the herb layer whilst ground 
foraging and also to a lesser extent from among the foliage low down in the 
tree canopies. 

Fly-catching. Insects were occasionally taken on the wing, the bird flying 
from a perch and returning to the same or a similar perch after the attempt. 
Swooping. The birds would swoop onto large prey from a perch and attempt 
to kill it quickly with blows of the bill. This method was particularly used 
against lizards. 

Newton (1867), Lousteau-Lalanne (1962), Gaymer et al. (1969) and High 
(1974) all describe food items taken by the Magpie Robin. These include 
millipedes, insects obtained from among litter, winged termites, spiders and 
lizards. Our observations also showed that ground and litter dwelling 
invertebrates of all types figured prominently in the diet. Other food items 
whilst ground foraging included the double egg of a gecko {Phelsuma sp.), 
a small fish dropped by a Fairy Tern Gygis alba and a dead giant millipede, 
Scaphiostreptus madecassus, which was broken open. 

Four lizard corpses were found which had been taktn by Magpie Robins, 
the largest being a Mabuya wrightii with a body length, excluding the tail, 
of 10 cm. The lizards were attacked swiftly and killing was attempted by 
sharp vertical blows of the bill, but most attempts were unsuccessful. In all 
4 corpses the tail had been eaten. The only other parts taken were those 
accessible through the cloaca, eyes and mouth. In only one case had the 
body wall been broken into and this was probably not done by the bird itself. 
Generally the body was left lying in the open partially eaten and in two 
instances the birds returned to the corpse later. All the corpses examined 
showed heavy bruising on the belly. 

Grasshoppers were gleaned from low herbs and a large green grasshopper 
was taken from the canopy of a tree. A large flying insect, probably a mason 
wasp, was taken by fly catching. 


Apart from the chick begging call already mentioned, 3 other calls were 

Song. A quiet, very musical song was heard twice, given by single adults 
from low perches in the open. 

"Cicada" call. A harsh, low, churring or buzzing was given in situations of 
apparent moderate anxiety, and was heard most frequently when an observer 
approached too close to a foraging bird or to a concealed fledgling. It was 
also heard just prior to a territorial encounter and when the nest was 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 20 

"Pee" call. A short, plaintive whistle was heard 3 times. The first, given by 
an adult, was heard when the nest we found was examined. The second was 
given by a foraging adult which, after calling, continued to forage apparently 
undisturbed. The third was given by an immature which was surprised when 
an adult suddenly flew at it. The young bird may have been an intruder. 


It is likely that the Seychelles Magpie Robin originally inhabited the 
native plateau forests, feeding in the leaf litter and nesting in the abundant 
niches and holes of undisturbed primary woodland. It has adapted well to 
the artificial environment of the cultivated plateaux on Frigate. As similar 
habitat exists on most of the islands where the Magpie Robin was once 
found, especially on Praslin and La Digue, it is probable that introduced 
predators perhaps in conjunction with human pressure, rather than altera- 
tion of the habitat, have been primarily responsible for the decline of the 
species. In 1965 the Bristol Seychelles Expedition could find only 8 
Magpie Robins on Frigate (Gaymer et al. 1969) but since the extermination 
of cats High was able to count 38 birds in 1973, a figure comparable with our 
1976 census of 34. Aride excepted, Frigate is the only island formerly occu- 
pied by Magpie Robins that has escaped invasion by rats. Aride however 
was infested by cats which have since been destroyed (Percy & Ridley 1955) 
but which were probably responsible for the extinction of the Magpie Robin 
there over 40 years ago. Over 100 years ago, Newton (1867) had noticed the 
adverse effect of introduced predators on the Magpie Robin population; 
and he also suggested that the Mynah Acridotheres tristis, an introduced 
species that is common on Frigate, could pose a threat. It is possible that it 
does so, although we obtained no evidence of Mynahs interfering with 
Magpie Robins in any way. 

Our observations suggest that the adults with established territories have 
no difficulty in rearing offspring. They also suggest that the hill provides an 
unsuitable habitat, for unknown reasons. As the present occupied territories 
almost completely cover the available ground on the main plateau, Grand 
Anse and Anse Pare, it is possible that Frigate can support few more Magpie 
Robins and that lack of space is limiting the population. Immature birds in 
this situation could either wait to replace a dead adult or could attempt to 
form territories in unsuitable areas where they could not support themselves. 
Two Magpie Robins seen near the summit of the hill in November 1 976 by 
Dr. D. W. Snow (pers. comm.) may have been an example of such an attempt. 
Such a situation implies a stable population, a suggestion supported by the 
population counts in 1973 and 1976. 

It seems likely that the world population of the Seychelles Magpie Robin 
consists of about 10 breeding pairs, this number being kept fairly stable by 
recruitment from a constantly replenished pool of young birds and prevented 
from further increase by a lack of suitable habitat. 

Acknowledgements: Our thanks to Mr. P. Hutley, the then owner of Frigate, for allowing 
our visit, and to Messrs. Guy Lionnet and Yvon Savy for helping us to arrange it. We are 
grateful to the International Council for Bird Preservation for giving us leave to make the 
trip and to Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Fitzpatrick-Niven for financial help. Dr. Martin Garnett, 
Mr. Jeff Watson, Dr. D. W. Snow and Mr. Anthony Cheke kindly assisted us in writing 
the report and this paper, and we are also grateful to Capt. Tony Sharrett for taking one of 
us (J.W.) on preliminary visits to the island. 

zi [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

References : 

Gaymer, R. et al. 1969. The endemic birds of the Seychelles. Ibis in : 157-176. 

High, J. 1974. Seychelles Magpie Robin. Wildlife 16: 61. 

International Council for Bird Preservation British Section. 1976. 5th Report on the Cousin 

Island Nature Reserve and other Islands 1 973-1 976. 
Lousteau-Lalanne, P. 1962. Land birds of the granitic islands of the Seychelles. Occ. Pubis. 

Seychelles Soc. 1: 22-31. 
Newton, E. 1867. On the landbirds of the Seychelles Archipelago. Ibis Ser. 2(3): 335-360. 
Ridley, M. W. & Percy, Lord W. 1955. The exploitation of seabirds in the Seychelles. 

Colonial Res. Studies No. 25 : 1-78. H.M.S.O. 
Vesey-Fitzgerald, D. 1940. On the birds of the Seychelles, 1. The endemic birds. Ibis 

Ser. 14(4): 480-489. 

Present Address: c/o Belle Vue, Aiskew, Bedale, North Yorkshire, England. 

A new bird for Burma— Pallas's Reed Bunting 

Emberi^a pallasi 
by P. R. Colston 

Received 21 October ipjj 
Between Feb 1901 and April 1902 Col. R. M. Meinertzhagen (i960) col- 
lected a number of birds in Burma and these are now in the process of being 
registered and incorporated into the main collection of study skins at the 
British Museum (Natural History), Tring. These included 3 small buntings, 
2 cScS and 1 $, from Mandalay and Maymyo (22 05' N, 96 33' E, some 40 km 
north-northeast of Mandalay), all of which he identified as Little Buntings 
Emberi^a pusilla. Critical examination of the female, Reg. No. 1965-M-16392, 
taken at Maymyo on 22 March 1902 shows it to be an adult $ Pallas's Reed 
Bunting E. pallasi, in moult. This species has not previously been recorded 
from Burma. One of the 2 male Little Buntings was collected at the same 
locality the following day. 

Pallas's Reed Bunting is not unlike a small Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus, 
which could equally well occur as a vagrant to Burma. I have compared it 
with the extensive series of both E. schoeniclus and E. pallasi at Tring, and 
both Dr. D. W. Snow and Derek Goodwin confirm my identification. 
Measurements are: wing 68 mm, tail 52 mm, tarsus 17 mm, bill from base of 
feathers 7 • 5 mm. No soft part colours are recorded on the collector's label. 
The specimen shows the diagnostic pale whitish rump and upper tail coverts 
and the tail pattern which clearly separates it from female or immature Little 

Vaurie gives the range of E. pallasi as "Central and eastern Siberia, Outer 
Mongolia and probably northwestern Manchuria, also Tian Shan in Chinese 
Turkestan. Migratory, winters in Outer and Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, 
Korea, Ussuriland, and northern China south to lower Yangtze". According 
to Dementiev et al. E. pallasi occupies tundra overgrown with under-brush, 
dwarf birch, rose willow etc. In the south it is found predominently in 
mountains — in the subalpine zone, mostly at 2200-2400 m. It winters on 
plains, preferring irrigated areas with shrub and reed thickets, near rivers 
and lakes. In its winter quarters in northern China and southern Manchuria 
it is recorded as abundant. Pallas's Reed Bunting is a roaming and migratory 
bird, similar in this respect to the Little Bunting, which occupies much the 
same biotope. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 22 

The Crested Bunting Melophus lathami is the only resident bunting in 
Burma, but Smythies (1953) lists 8 winter visitors, i.e. Emberi^a aureola, 
da, elegans, furcata, pusilla, rutila, spodocephala and tristrami. 

References : 

Dementiev, G. P. & Gladkov, N. A. 1954. The Birds of the Soviet Union. Moscow: Sovetskaya 

King, B., Woodcock, M., & Dickinson, E. C. 1975. A Field Guide to the Birds oj South- East 

Asia. Collins. 
Meinertzhagen, R. i960. Army Diary 1 899-1926. Oliver & Boyd. 
Smythies, B. E. 1953. The Birds of Burma. 2nd (revised) Ed. Oliver and Boyd. 

Address: British Museum (Natural History), Tring, Hertfordshire, England. 

Ethiopia as a presumed wintering area for the eastern 

Grasshopper Warbler hocustella naevia straminea 

by J. S. Ash 

Received 29 October 19 jj 
The occurrence of the eastern race of the Grasshopper Warbler, Eocustella 
naevia straminea, in Ethiopia has been reported on by Ash & Watson (1974). 
Since then I have captured 6 more birds, 2 from the earlier site at Koka (8° 
27' N, 39 06' E) at 1445 m; 3 at 1280 m from Aseita (n° 33' N, 41 26' E), 
which is only 4 km north of the locality where Guichard (1948) collected one 
in 1 947 ; and 1 netted one more on Debre Mariam Island (1 1 ° 3 8' N, 3 7 26' E) 
in Lake Tana at 1825 m. Olson (1976) recorded 2 more near Bahar Dar 
( 1 1 ° 3 5 ' N, 3 7 2 5 ' E) at 1825 m, about 5 km south of my Debre Mariam site, 
and one from 4 km south of Gondar at 12 37' N, 37 28' E. Table 1 gives the 
dates, measurements and weights of these 10 records. 

table 1 
Details of the 10 Locustella naevia straminea records in Ethiopia 
Locality Date Sex Wing {mm) Tail {mm) Weight (gm) Time Moult Observer 

Abroberifaghe (Harar) 121147 — — — — — — Guichard 1948 

Koka (Shoa) 241173 — 62 — 10-2 1130 o Ash & Watson 1974 

Gondar (Begemdir) 24x173 ? 62 54 14-3 a.m. o Olson 1976 

Bahar Dar (Gojjam) 27 ii 75 ? 61 56 15-4 — o Olson 1976 

Koka (Shoa) 151x75 — 62 — n-o 0900 o Ash 

* " 251x75 — 58 — 11-9 1100 / 

* " 251x75 — 58 — n-o 1730 v^ 
Aseita (Harar) 111177 — — — 12-1 — o 

U1177 — — — !3 -1 — ° 

16 ii 77 — — ■ — 11-9 — o 

fD. Mariam Is. (Gojjam) 3 1 iii 77 — 62 58 12-4 1000 o Ash 

t " 3 iv 77 — 62 58 13-3 1830 o 

Notes: * and f indicate birds are the same individuals. Full data for the Aseita birds were lost during my hasty evacua- 
tion from Ethiopia. 

The breeding range of the eastern subspecies straminea extends from east 
Russia {c. 55 E) across the Kirghiz steppes to the Altai (c. 85 ° E), south to 
Transcaspia, Turkestan and Sinkiang (Williamson i960). Apart from 
Ethiopia, L. n. straminea is known on passage or in winter quarters from 
Iran, Afghanistan and India (Williamson i960), to which can be added one 
from Arabia (Ticehurst & Cheesman 1925). 

23 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

The 10 birds in Ethiopia occurred in autumn between 15 September and 
24 November, and in spring between 11 February and 3 April. It is just 
possible that the absence of December and January records indicates that 
the final wintering area lies in an undiscovered region further south, but the 
present evidence suggests that the wintering area for the eastern population 
of this species in East Africa lies in Ethiopia between 8° 27' and 12 37' N 
and between 37 25' and 41 ° 26' E, at an altitudinal range of 1250 to 2000 m. 

The Ethiopian habitat varies somewhat from site to site: at Koka, from 
where there are 3 records, it is lakeside Acacia) Balanites bush with thick 
underlying cover; at Aseita, thick riverside Acacia woodland with dense 
underlying cover; near Bahar Dar, extensive lakeside beds of Phragmites 
and Cyperus papyrus; on Debre Mariam Island, open deciduous woodland 
with dense bushy areas near water; near Gondar, on a "brushy hillside" 
(Olson 1976); at Guichard's (1948) site, "in dense grass cover along the 
River Hawash". 

No other weights other than those in Table 1 are available for L. n. 
straminea, which is smaller than the western form L. n. naevia^ for which there 
are many data. Winter weights in February of 4 unfattened straminea range 
from 10 -2 to 13 -ig (the specimen on 27 February at 15 -4 g was fat). 
The Gondar bird on 24 November at 14-3 g would appear to be heavy for 
the time of year unless it was preparing for further migration. Williamson 
(i960) gives weights of 65 migrant L. n. naevia in England as ranging from 
10 -6 to 16 -3 g (mean 13-1 g). 

An indication of its frequency of occurrence in relation to other Palae- 
arctic migrants at Koka was given by Ash Sc Watson (1974). In February 
1977 the 3 Grasshopper Warblers captured at Aseita were included in a 
total of 487 migrants of 23 species, of which most were thought to be over- 
wintering in the 7-hectare netting area (Ash, in prep.). The bird on Debre 
Mariam Island was included in a total of 287 migrants of 17 species in an 
area of approximately 25 hectares, but at this time in March and April most 
of the regular migrants were all passing through. 

Four of the 10 birds from Ethiopia have been collected: the first, by 
Guichard, is in the British Museum (BM 1947-3 1-8, specimen registered but 
still not located, contra Ash & Watson 1974), the next, by Ash at Koka, is in 
the Smithsonian Institution (USNM No. 552733), as are the 2 by Olson in 
the list above (USNM No. 569269 and USNM No. 569270). The others were 
ringed and released. 

Acknowledgements : My best thanks are due to Dr. G. E. Watson for his comments on 
this paper. Dr. D. W. Snow has kindly rechecked the British Museum register for me. 
My observations were made during the course of investigations supported in part by the 
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. 

References : 

Ash, J. S. The migrant bird community of an Ethiopian woodland in mid- winter. In prep. 

— & Watson, G. E. 1974. Locustella naevia in Ethiopia. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 94: 39-40. 

Guichard, K. M. 1948. Notes on Sarothrura qyresi and three birds new to Abyssinia. Bull. 
Brit. Orn. CI. 68: 102-104. 

Olson, C. 1976. Summary of field observations of birds from Begemder and Simien Pro- 
vince. Walia 7: 16-27. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 24 

Ticehurst, C. B. & Cheesman, R. E. 1925. The birds of Jabrin, Jafura, and Hasa in central 
and eastern Arabia and of Bahrain Island, Persian Gulf. Ibis, 12th Ser. (1): 1-3 1. 

Williamson, K. i960. Identification for Ringers. 1. The genera Locustella, Lusciniola, 
Acrocephalus and Hippolais. British Trust for Ornithology. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 

Inland and coastal occurrences of Broad-billed Sandpipers 

Limicola falcinellus in Ethiopia and Djibouti 

by J. S. Ash 

Received 29 October iyyy 
Probably because Broad-billed Sandpipers Limicola falcinellus are not easily 
identified in non-breeding plumage, their wintering areas are still poorly 
known. In Ethiopia, Urban & Brown (1971) were only able to cite a single 
occurrence, the 2 females collected by Smith (1955) on 12 May 1953 at 
Massawa, Eritrea, on the Red Sea coast. 

I am now able to add 4 new records (below), of which the first 3 are from 
Ethiopia and the last from Djibouti. There are no previous records from 

Locality Coordinates Dates Numbers 

Assab area, Eritrea (coastal) 13 02' N, 42 45' E 25.xii-Li.71 12-j- 

Koka, Shoa (inland) 8° 27' N, 39 06' E 22-29. x.74 1 

Koka, Shoa (inland) Same as above 14-15.ix.75 1 

Djibouti (coastal) n° 35' N, 43 11' E 25.xii.75 3 

The 1974 bird caught on 28 October weighed 29-1 g at 1 500 LMT, wing 
104 mm, bill from skull 36 mm. The 1975 adult in alternate (breeding) 
plumage caught on 14 September weighed 24-9 g at 1530 LMT, wing 104 
mm. I have 2 other probable records from inland Ethiopia, at Lake Basaaka 
(8° 54' N, 39 52' E) on 15 November 1969 (Ash 1972) and at Mataca 
(io° 00' N, 40 34' E) on 11 October 1972. 

Meinertzhagen (1954) states that the species is fairly common on the 
Egyptian and Sinai coasts, birds arriving there as early as 5 August; other- 
wise he only mentions some birds from Aden (mentioned below), and states 
that many had been obtained at Fao (at the head of the Persian Gulf) in 
v\ugust and September. Large numbers, up to 500 in a flock, are recorded 
from Aden (Browne 1949, 1955, Nisbet 1961, Paige i960), but there are no 
records from Somalia (Archer & Godman 1937). 

Elsewhere in Africa south of the Sahara, the Afrotropical region of 
Crosskey & White (1977), records are scattered, except that in Kenya 
numbers, up to 38 together, have now been seen annually both inland and 
on the coast since the Hopsons (1972) first recorded the species there 
(Backhurst/« ////, Britton 1974, Britton & Britton 1973, 1976, EANHS 1977, 
Hopson & Hopson 1972, 1973). These Kenyan birds have been seen between 
2 August and 8 April, with up to 33 in one coastal locality in midwinter. 
K. D. Smith, who summarizes the occurrences in Moreau (1972), refers to one 
in Nigeria (Dowsctt 1968), one in Uganda, where there are now 2 occurrences 

25 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

(Backhurst et al. 1973), 2 in Tanzania (Reynolds 1965, Harvey 1971), and 
doubtful records from Senegal and southwest Africa (although the 
latter is accepted by Winterbottom 1971). I was unable to find this species 
in December and January on the Red Sea coasts around Al Hodeida in Yemen 
(December 1975 to January 1976), or near Massawa in Eritrea in December 
1972, although at both places suitable habitat exists. The scattered records 
of small numbers of Broad-billed Sandpipers are few and widespread, but 
judging by the large numbers passing through Aden in spring and autumn, 
it is almost certain that a midwinter concentration has yet to be discovered 
in some little worked area further south. A search of suitable habitat along 
the Somali coast may prove rewarding, particularly as there are midwinter 
records both to the north and south in Eritrea and Kenya. 

At least in the areas where they are overwintering, this species has a 
preference for a distinctive type of foreshore — a combination of wet mud 
and sand with scattered stones and patches of weed. Once this habitat is 
recognized the birds may be found quite easily, and such was the case on 
19 September 1976 at the mouth of the Sabaki River, on the Kenya coast, 
when a stop was made to look at a likely patch of tidal mud and the first 
bird seen was L. falcinellus. 

This species is not difficult to identify. Useful additional field characters 
to those given in European field guides and by Browne (1955) include the 
following: the size is intermediate between Little Stint Calidris minuta and 
Curlew Sandpiper C.ferrugmea; the bill appears to be too heavy for the bird 
to carry as it walks, and it is long (longer than the head) for the size of the 
bird; its legs are much shorter than those of Dunlin C. alpina and are not 
quite so dark, i.e., not quite black. It is always on the move when feeding 
and appears to be a "busier feeder" than a Dunlin, and whilst preening it 
constantly dips its bill in water. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Dr. G. E. Watson and G. C. Backhurst for comment- 
ing on this paper, and the latter for providing me with full data on the Kenyan records. 
Some of the observations were made whilst engaged in research supported in part by the 
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. 
Noooi 4-6 7-A-0 3 99-0009. 

References : 

Archer, G. & Godman, E. M. 1937. The Birds of British Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden. 

Vol. II. London : Gurney and Jackson. 
Ash, J. S. 1972. Charadriiform birds in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Walia 4: 14-18. 
Backhurst, G. C, Britton, P. L. & Mann, C. F. 1973. The less common Palaearctic birds 

of Kenya and Tanzania. //. E. African Nat. Hist. Soc. 140: 1-38. 
Britton, P. L. 1974. Broad-billed Sandpipers and Herring Gulls wintering on the north 

Kenya coast. E.A.N.H.S. Bull. 1974: 112-113. 
Britton, P. L. & Britton, H. A. 1973. Broad-billed Sandpipers on the Kenya coast. 

E.A.N.H.S. Bull. 1973: 146-147. 
Britton, H. A. & Britton, P. L. 1976. Records section (Birds). E.A.N.H.S. Bull. 1976: 

Browne, P. W. P. 1949. Notes on Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers at Aden. Brit. Birds 

Browne, P. W. P. 1955. Identification of the Broad-billed Sandpiper at Aden. Brit. Birds 

48: 375-376. 
Crosskey, R. W. & White, G. B. 1977. The Afrotropical Region. A Recommended term 

in Zoogeography./. Nat. Hist., 11: 541-544. 
Dowsett, R. J. 1968. Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at Lake Chad: a species 

new to Nigeria. Bull. Orn. Soc. Nigeria 5 : 61. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 26 

E.A.N.H.S. Orn Sub-committee. 1977. Some recent records of Palaearctic birds in Kenya 

and Tanzania. Scopus 1 : 39-43. 
Harvey, W. G. 1971. The second Broad-billed Sandpiper for Tanzania. E.A.N.H.S. 

Bull. 1971 : 161. 
Hopson, J. & Hopson, T. 1972. Broad-billed Sandpiper at Lake Rudolf. E.A.N.H.S. 

Bull. 1972: 170-171. 
Hopson, T. & Hopson, J. 1973. More Broad-billed Sandpipers at Lake Rudolf. E.A.N.H.S. 

Bull. 1973: 52. 
Meinertzhagen, R. 1954. Birds of Arabia. Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd. 
Moreau, R. E. 1972. The Palaearctic African Bird Migration Systems. London and New York : 

Academic Press. 
Nisbet, I. C. T. 1961. Studies of less familiar birds. 113. Broad-billed Sandpiper. Brit. 

Birds 54: 320-323. 
Paige, J. P. i960. Bird notes from Aden and Oman. Ibis 102: 520-525. 
Reynolds, F. J. 1965. On the occurrence of Palaearctic waders in western Tanzania. E. 

Afr. Wildl.J.y. 130-131. 
Smith, K. D. 1955. Recent records from Eritrea. Ibis 97: 65-80. 
Urban, E. K. & Brown, L. H. 1971. A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: 

Haile Selassie I. University Press. 
Winterbottom, J. M. 1971. A Preliminary Checklist of the Birds of Southwest Africa. S. W. A. 

Scientific Society. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 

Sarothrura crakes in Ethiopia 
by J. S.Ash 

Received 11 October 19 jj 

Of the 9 species of Sarothrura crakes, a genus confined to the African 
continent and Madagascar, 3 are known from Ethiopia. At the time when 
Keith et al. (1970) completed the monograph on the genus, with data up to 
the end of 1968, there were only single records of 2 of the 3 species, but sev- 
eral for the third. More information has since accrued, and the present 
knowledge of their occurence or absence in Ethiopia is given below. The order 
and nomenclature of Urban & Brown (1971) is followed, although more 
recently Ripley (1977) has placed all the Sarothrura crakes in the genus 
Coturmcops, in which Sclater (1930) placed ayresi. 

Sarothrura ayresi White-winged Crake 

In the Republic of South Africa known only from single birds at 3 localities 
and from about 30 specimens in 4 localities in Ethiopia (the locality given as 
Entotto is a ridge of wooded hills, and almost certainly Sululta, which 
Entotto overlooks, is intended) (Keith et al.). The last certain records from 
South Africa were in 1901, where Keith et al. conjectured it had by then be- 
come extinct, and from Ethiopia in 1 949. Keith et al. refer to an Ethiopian 
specimen with fully developed eggs on 18 July, and to an unfledged young 
bird on 22 September, so there can be no doubt that the species bred in this 
country. Firsthand references to the occurences of this species in Ethiopia are 
in Bannerman (191 1), Gajdacs & Keve (1968), Guichard (1948, 1950). Urban 
& Brown call it resident and a possible intra- African migrant in the west and 
southwest highlands by streams and marshes, with breeding possibly occur- 
ring June-September. 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

There are no new data since Keith et al. From 1970 to 1976, I made many 
searches for this species at Gefersa and Sululta, in each year, at various times 
from July to October, and several other observers, including C. Erard (1974), 
Stuart Keith, Dr. Clark Olson, and Dr. S. J. Tyler, did the same, on occasions 
using dogs and up to 30 local beaters, without finding a trace of a bird. Many 
people visit Sululta to shoot Great Snipe Gallinago media and those questioned 
had no knowledge of these crakes. Similarly many local shepherd boys who 
tend their animals daily in this area were unaware of the bird. The marsh at 
Gefersa is now much reduced following the construction of a reservoir at 
the site, but Sululta marshes have probably remained unchanged in the past 
30 years. There is always a chance that the species may be found again in the 
numerous other highland marshes in Ethiopia, but I have searched many 
without success, so that there is a distinct possibility that the species may be 
extinct in Africa. 

Sarothrura rufa Red-chested Crake 

Widespread in Africa south of about 4 N, but very few north of this line 
(Keith et al.), and only one from Ethiopia (Guichard 1950). Urban & Brown 
describe the resident race S. r. eli^abethae as rare in larger fresh-water lakes 
and rivers, and perhaps other grassy or marshy areas, in the west highlands 
(Gefersa). There are no breeding records. 

Since 1970 there have been more records from 4 localities in Ethiopia. 
Two of these are noted with caution by Erard (1974), but in my opinion and 
that of Stuart Keith {in litt.), they are acceptable as undoubted S. rufa. All 
known records are listed below. 


Alt. (/») 




Gefersa, Shoa 2600 

Chalk, Kaffa 1970 

Gimbi (3 km E), Wollega 1850 

Didessa (6 km W), Wollega 1240 

Jimma airport, Kaffa 1700 

Didessa, Wollega 1262 

30 July 1947 

5-9 May 1971 

28 Sept. 1971 

1 Oct. 1971 

24 June 1974 






Guichard 1950 
Desfayes 1975 
Erard 1974 
Erard 1974 
Keith {in litt.) 

The bird heard by Keith near Jimma was calling in the marshes at the air- 
port; those seen by Desfayes were in very wet marshes at Challa. 

After hearing Keith's tapes of their calls from elsewhere, I realized that I 
had heard S. rufa on many occasions in small marshes adjoining my regular 
campsite at Didessa, without recognizing at the time that they were those of 
a bird. I had been led to believe by the local people that it was a species of 
toad or frog, but Dr. M. L. Largen assures me that no anuran species known 
to him in Ethiopia or elsewhere calls in this manner. 

Sarothrura elegans Buff-spotted Crake 

Range rather similar to that of S. rufa (Keith et al.) and only one record 
from Ethiopia (Benson 1974). Urban & Brown describe the resident race 
S. e. elegans as rare and found in the southeast highlands and south Ethiopia 
in Juniper-Podocarpus forest at 2400-3200 m. 

Since 1970 there have been records from 4 more localities in southern 
Ethiopis, suggesting that the bird is locally, but widely and not uncommonly, 
distributed there. All known records are summarized overleaf. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 



Alt. {m) 




Mega, Sidamo 
Koffole, Arussi 


4 June 1 941 
14 June 1968 


Benson 1947 
Roux & Benson 

Erard 1974 
Keith {in litt.) 

Agaro, Kaffa 
Bulcha, Sidamo 
Belleta forest, Kaffa 


June 1968 
24 June 1974 



ErarcTs 1968 birds near Agaro were claimed by him with reserve, but as he 
was familiar with the species' call in Gabon, and they resembled those of 
recordings of the species, his records are acceptable. In this area the birds 
were in forests of Ficus sp. Keith's bird near Jimma was in a thick bushy 
ravine in an area of mixed forest lacking Podocarpus and Juniperus but stated 
by him to be typical habitat. 

At Bulcha I was familiar with the birds' calls for several years before 
identifying their origin. The local people believed them to be the calls of a 
tortoise, although several identified them as being the "King of Birds-a kind 
of nocturnal bird of prey which hunted from a low branch close to the 
ground". On hearing Keith's tape of S. elegans in 1974, 1 instantly recognized 
the identity of the unknown caller. Unfortunately, I do not have any notes on 
it prior to its identification, nor did I ever see one in the course of weeks of 
observation in areas where it was apparently fairly common. Birds mostly 
called at night and only very occasionally during the day; in June 1974 they 
were particularly numerous and on one night I was able to pinpoint at least 
10 calling round the camp. It was possible to approach within 1-2 metres of 
birds calling in dense ground cover, to see the vegetation disturbed as the 
birds moved, and yet still not be able to see them. Calling, apparently from 
individual birds, continued for hours, a drawn out mournful "wooooooo" 
lasting for 3 seconds at intervals of 6-7 seconds. At very close range presum- 
ed contact calls were heard between birds, sometimes literally at one's feet, a 
soft and short "moo" (occasionally a quick "moo-moo-moo") (from the 
male?), answered by an equally soft but rather longer and often quavering 
"mair" (from the female?). 

The Bulcha habitat was forest edge and open canopy forest with dense 
ground cover along a riverside. 

In conclusion, of the 3 Sarothrura crakes known from Ethiopia, all have 
been considered rare and local. New records for S. elegans and S. rufa indicate 
they are more widespread than was previously thought, but S. ayresi has not 
been seen for nearly 30 years in spite of many searches in previously favoured 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Dr. George E. Watson, and Stuart Keith for reading 
the drafts of this paper and the latter also for details of his observations in Kaffa. Part of 
my observations were made whilst I was engaged in research supported in part by the 
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. 
Nooo 1 4-6 7- A-03 99-0009. 

Appendix: Gazetteer of localities mentioned in the text. 

Agaro, 7 50' N, 36 38' E; Belleta Forest, 7 32' N, 36 33' E; Bulcha, 6° 27' N, 38 
n'E; Challa, 7 46' N, 3 6° 22' E; Didessa, 9 02' N, 3 6° 09' E; Didessa (6 km W), 9 04' N, 
36 05' E; Entotto, 9 05' N, 38 45' E; Gefersa, 9 03' N, 38 40' E; Gimbi (3 km E), 

29 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

9 12' N, 35 50' E; Jimma airport, 7 34' N, 36 48' E; KofFole, 7 05' N, 38 45' E; 
Mega, 4 05' N, 3 8° 19' E; Sululta, 9 11' N, 3 8° 45' E. 

Postcript: Whilst the paper on Sarothrura ayresi was in press, Mr. A. D. 
Forbes-Watson drew my attention to a 1976 paper by S. W. Wolff & P. le S. 
Milstein (Bokmakierie 28: 33-36), describing the re-discovery of Sarothrura 
ayresi in South Africa. 

References : 

Bannerman, D. A. 191 1. Description of a new Rail, Ortygops macmillani sp. n. Bull. Brit. 

Orn. CI. 29: 38. 
Benson, C. W. 1947. Notes on the birds of southern Abyssinia. Ibis 89: 29-50. 
Desfayes, M. 1975. Birds from Ethiopia. Revue de Zoologie Africaine 89: 505-535. 
Erard, C. 1974. Notes faunistiques et systematiques sur quelques oiseaux d'Ethiopia 

Bonn Zool. Beitr. 25 : 76-86. 
Gajdacs, M. & Keve, A. 1968. Beitrage zur Vogelfauna des mittleren Athiopien. Stutt- 

garter Beitr. %ur Naturk. 182: 13 pp. 
Guichard, K. M. 1948. Notes on Sarothrura ayresi and three birds new to Abyssinia. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 68: 102-104. 
— 1950 A summary of the birds of the Addis Ababa region, Ethiopia. Journ. East 

African Nat. Hist. Soc. 19: 154-178. 
Keith, G. S., Benson, C. W. & Stuart Irwin, M. P. 1970. The genus Sarothrura (Aves, 

Rallidae). Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 143 (1). 
Ripley, S. Dillon. 1977. Rails of the World. Godine: Boston. 
Roux, F. & Benson, C. W. 1969. The Buff-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura elegans in Ethiopia. 

Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 89: 11 9-1 20. 
Sclater, W. T. 1930. Sy sterna Avium Aethiopicarum. Taylor and Francis: London. 
Urban, E. K. & Brown, L. H. 1971. A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie I. 

University Press : Addis Ababa. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Washington, 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 

A Basra Reed Warbler Acrocepbalus arundinaceus griseldis 

in Mozambique 

by J. S. Ash 

Received 20 September 1977 
The Basra Reed Warbler Acrocepbalus arundinaceus griseldis does not seem to 
have been recorded from Mozambique. It is therefore noteworthy that a 
migrant (wing 77 mm, weight 12 -o g at 0700) ringed with a British Trust for 
Ornithology ring (JS 33684) on 19 September 1975 at Koka (08 27' N, 39 
06' E), Shoa Province, Ethiopia, was found dead at Chire (16 42' S, 35 20' 
E), Morrumbala District (Zambezia), Mozambique. The ring was reported 
on 1 February 1977, but the actual date of its recovery is not known. 

The Basra Reed Warbler is such a distinctive race that some authorities 
have accorded it full specific status (Ticehurst 1922, Sclater 1930, Voous 
i960, Mackworth-Praed & Grant i960, Pearson & Backhurst 1976), 
whilst others regard it as a race of A. arundinaceus (Stresemann & Arnold 
1949, Vaurie 1959, White i960, Williamson 1968). I am inclined to agree 
with the former, but a final decision must rest on detailed field studies with 
particular emphasis on its song patterns. 

Its winter quarters are stated by Moreau (1971) as "from Kenya to 
Malawi", by Vaurie (1959) as "East Africa from Kenya south to Nyasaland", 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 30 

by Sclater (1930) as "south to Teita District of south Kenya Colony and to 
Tanganyika (Kilosa District at Nguru)", and by Mackworth-Praed & Grant 
(i960) as "in Kenya Colony and Tanganyika; at least one record from 
Nyasaland"; and White (1970) says "winters or passage from Eritrea to 
Kenya and once to Nyasaland". It is not known to overwinter in Ethiopia, 
where I have found it widespread and common as a passage migrant in 
autumn, between 28 August and 12 December, mostly 12-27 September, 
always associated with water, in lakeside or riverside vegetation either dense 
weeds, acacia bush, tamarisk woodland or low thick bushes (Ash in press). 
There are no spring records. In Kenya it is a common autumn passage 
migrant (Pearson & Backhurst 1976), but is unknown in Somalia (Archer & 
Godman 1961), where it must surely occur. In southern Somalia there is one 
specimen from Kisimao (Van Someren 1929). There are no records from 
Zambia (Benson et al. 1973). 

The present remarkable record from Mozambique extends the winter 
range of this race for at least 280 km south of the most southerly record I can 
trace, namely a single bird on 22 March 1943 at Fort Johnston in Malawi 
(Benson 1953), which itself was over 980 km south cf the most southerly 
occurrences in Tanzania. The evidence suggests that all previous Basra Reed 
Warblers were on passage in the areas where they have been recorded in East 
Africa, except for the one in Malawi. Their late winter quarters are still un- 
known, and it is possible that the birds in Mozambique and Malawi provide a 
clue to where these may be. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Dr. George E. Watson for commenting on this paper. 
The bird was ringed in the course of research supported in part by the Bureau of Medicine 
and Surgery and the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. N00014-67-A-0399- 
0009 and the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Work Unit MR041-0901-0014 DGHJ. 

References : 

Archer, G. & Godman, E. M. 1961. The Birds of British Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. 

Vol. IV. Oliver and Boyd : Edinburgh and London. 
Ash, J. S. (in Press). Migrational status of Palaearctic birds in Ethiopia. Ostrich. 
Benson, C. W. 1953. A Checklist of the Birds of Nyasaland. Blantyre and Lusaka: Nyasaland 

— Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. S. 1973. The Birds of Zambia. Collins: 

Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. i960. Birds of Eastern and North- Eastern 

Africa. Longmans: London. 
Moreau, R. E. 1971. The Palaearctic African Bird Migration Systems. Academic Press. London. 
Pearson, D. J. & Backhurst, G. C. 1976. The southward migration of Palaearctic birds 

over Ngulia, Kenya. Ibis 118: 78-105. 
Sclater, W. L. 1930. Sy sterna Avium Aethiopicarum. Taylor and Francis: London. 
Stresemann, E. & Arnold, J. 1949. Speciation in the group of Great Reed Warblers. 

fourn. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 48: 428-443. 
Ticehurst, C. B. 1922. Remarks on Reed Warblers from Mesopotamia. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 

43 =46. . 

Van Someren, V. G. L. 1929. Notes on the birds of Jubaland and the northern frontier. 

J. East Afr. and Uganda Nat. Hist. Soc. 35 : 25-70. 
Vaurie, C. 1959. The Birds of the Palearctic Fauna. Witherby: London. 
Voous, K. H. i960. Atlas of European Birds. Nelson: London. 
White, C. M. N. i960. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae). Part 1. 

Occ. Papers Nat. Mus. S. Rhodesia, No. 24 B: 399-430. 

Address-. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, | 
D.C. 20560, U.S.A. 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(1)] 

Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature: Opinions 

In continuation of Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 97, 1977: 104, and by permission of the International 
Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, the following Rulings are quoted as extracts from 
Opinions published in Bull. Zool. Nomencl. affecting birds : 


{Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 34(1), 1977: 14) 

Anas punctata Burchell, 1822 (Aves): suppressed under the plenary powers. 

(1) Under the plenary powers the specific name punctata Burchell, 1822, as published in 
the binomen Anas punctata, is hereby suppressed for the purposes of the Law of Priority 
but not for those of the Law of Homonymy. 

(2) The following specific names are hereby placed on the Official List of Specific Names 
in Zoology with the Name Numbers indicated: 

(a) hottentota Eyton, 1838, as published in the binomen Querquedula hottentota (Name 
Number 2600) ; 

(b) maccoa Eyton, 1 838, as published in the binomen Erismatura maccoa (Name Number 

(3) The specific name punctata Burchell, 1822, as published in the binomen Anas punctata, 
and as suppressed under the plenary powers, in (1) above, is hereby placed on the Official 
Index of Rejected and Invalid Specific Names in Zoology with the Name Number 1018. 


{Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 34(1), 1977: 25) 

Addition of Family-Group Names based on Alca (Aves) and Alces (Mammalia) to the 
Official List of Family-Group Names in Zoology. 

(1) The following names are hereby added to the Official List of Family-Group Names in 
Zoology with the Name Numbers specified : 

(a) Alcidae (ex Alcadae) Anon., 1820, type-genus Alca Linnaeus, 1758 (Class Aves) 
(Name Number 486); 

(b) Alceidae (ex Alcedae) Brookes, 1828, type-genus Alces Gray, 1821 (Class Mammalia) 
(Name Number 487). 


Sea and coastal birds collected in Angola 
by H. Skoog in 1912 

Brinck (1955, South African Animal Life, vol. II, cap. XVII) gives data on 
Phthiraptera obtained from birds specially collected for their ectoparasites 
by H. Skoog in 1 9 1 2 at Porto Alexandre (1 5 ° 49' S, 1 1 ° 5 3 ' E) on the Mossa- 
medes coast of Angola. Most of the birds were Palaearctic migrants or 
seabirds and since the records are accurately dated it seems worthwhile 
making them more readily available. 




Diomedea chlororhynchos 
Phalacrocorax carbo 
Phoenicopterus ruber (2 specimens) 
P. minor (3 specimens) 
Charadrius pallidus 
C. marginatus 
Pluvialis squatarola 

24.VH & 16.viii.12 
3.viii. & 23. x.i 2 

off Porto Alexandre 
Porto Alexandre 

[Bull. B.O.C. i 97 8: 98(1)] 





Philomachus pugnax 

Calidris ferruginea 

C. minnta 

C. alba (6 specimens) 

Recurvirostra avosetta 

Stercorarius parasiticus 

Larus cirrocephalus 

Sterna sandvicensis (4 specimens) 

S. hirundo 

S. balaenarum 

Corvus albus (2 specimens) 

1 3. X.I 2 
20.X. 1 2 

Rio Curoca, Porto 


Porto Alexandre 



















The general occurrence and distribution of Angolan birds is covered by 
Traylor (1963, Check-list of Angolan Birds, Pub/. Cu/t. Comp. Diam. Ang. 
61). Most of the above records do not require a modification of Traylor's 
appreciation but a few require comment. Diomedea ch/ororhynchos was only 
included by Traylor on visual evidence. The record of Charadrius pallidus 
provides a second Angolan locality. That of C. marginatus extends the coastal 
distribution far to the south. The record of Sterna balaenarum is the second 
for Angola. Records of the last 2 species have since been supplemented 
by further collecting of C. marginatus on 20 and 23 May 1966 at the Curoca 
River and of S. balaenarum to the south at Baia dos Tigres on 1 5 November 
1968 and of both species at the Cunene estuary (Pinto (1973), Aditamento a 
avifauna do Distrito de Mocamedes, Angola, in Livro de Homenagem ao 
Professor Fernando Frade Viegas da Costa yo° Aniversario — 27 de Abril de 
1968, Lisbon). 

16 November 1977 R. K. Brooke 

Address: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, 
Rondebosch 7700, R.S.A. 

Miscaptions on Plates of weavers in works 
by Mackworth-Praed & Grant 

Arising from correspondence with Stewart Lane, of Blantyre, Malawi, it 
has come to light that, while the adult plumages of the Brown-capped 
Weaver P/oceus (Phormoplectes) insignis and Bertram's Weaver P. {Xanthoplo- 
ceus) bertrandi are correctly described by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1963, 
Birds of the Southern Third of Africa, Vol. 2:58 5-586), on Plate 67 the captions 
for these 2 species have been transposed. Furthermore, while the same 
authors (1973, Birds of West Central and Western Africa, Vol. 2: 641) again 
give a correct description for P. insignis, Plate 80 shows P. bertrandi mis- 
captioned as insignis. P. bertrandi is unknown from anywhere in the area 
covered in this latter work, and correctly there is no mention of it in the 

3 January 1978 C. W. Benson 

Address: Dept. of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, EnglanJ.m 




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Published by the BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB and printed by 
The Caxton and Holmesdale Press, 104 London Road Sevenoaks Kent. 

ISSN 0007-1595 

Bulletin of the 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 98 No. 2 

June 1978 


Monday 17 July 197831 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Goat Tavern, 3 Stafford Street, London, 
W.i. (nearest Underground station — Green Park). Mr. M. W. Woodcock on The birds of 
Oman. Those wishing to attend must send a cheque for £2.65 per person to R. E. F. Peal, 
24 Creighton Avenue, London,, with their acceptance on the enclosed slip to arrive 
not later than the first post on Thursday 13 July. 

Tuesday 19 September 1978 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. in the Senior Common Room, South 
Side, Imperial College (entrance on the south side of Prince's Gardens, S.W.7, off Exhibi- 
tion Road). Sir Hugh Elliott, Bt., o.b.e., President of the B.O.U., on Some problems of the 
heron family. Those wishing to attend must send a cheque for £3.90 per person with their 
acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mrs. Diana Bradley, 53 Osterley Road, Isleworth, 
Middlesex, to arrive not later than first post on Thursday 14 September 1978. 

Tuesday 21 November 1978, jointly with the B.O.U. at Imperial College, Mr. E. M. 
Nicholson, c.b. on The role of British Ornithologists in Europe and Mr. P. J. Conder, o.b.e. 
on British Ornithologists in the Indian sub-continent. 

Tuesday 9 January 1979, Mr. J. H. R. Boswall on Mutual mimics, men as birds and birds as 
men — an ornithological frolic . 


P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven (Vice-Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal (Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley (Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk ( Editor) B. Gray 

C. E. Wheeler P. J. Oliver 

C. F. Mann 


! O A i,- A,, tfl 1 

33 [Buk.B.O;C. 


I97S: -98(2)] 

Bulletin of the 


Vol. 98 No. 2 Published : 20 June 1978 

The seven hundred and eleventh Meeting of the Club was held at the Goat Tavern, 3 
Stafford Street, London, W.i. on Tuesday 14 March, 1978 at 7 p.m. 

Chairman: Mr. Peter Hogg; present 16 members and 7 guests. Dr. Bruce Campbell, o.b.e., 
spoke on Problems of gravel pits. He illustrated his address with pictures and described the 
adaption of several species of birds to breeding in artificial habitats. 

The seven hundred and twelfth Meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common Room, 
South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7. on Wednesday 31 May at 7 p.m. 

Chairman: Mr. Peter Hogg: present 27 members and 16 guests. 

Dr. John Warham of the Zoology Department, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 
N.Z. reported on the re-discovery of the Taiko on the Chatham Islands on 1 January 1978 
by David Crockett. Mr. Crockett has been trying to locate this species, probably Ptero- 
droma magentae, for a number of years, mounting expeditions to the main island of the 
Chathams. At last he has caught, photographed and measured two specimens and seen two 
more. He plans to mount a larger expedition in 1978/79 in the hope of locating nesting 
burrows. It will then be necessary to attempt to protect the remnant population from pigs, 
cats and rats, in the hope that the species may survive. This seems likely to need the erection 
of a pig-proof fence, which may well prove very expensive. 

The principal speaker, Professor S. Dillon Ripley, then addressed the Club on New 
possibilities in the management of endangered species. 

It used to be thought that preservation of habitat would be sufficient to stop rare species 
of birds from becoming extinct but it had become apparent that it was necessary to study 
the biology and ecology of species and then, in many cases, to practice techniques often 
requiring very great skill to enable them to breed with sufficient success for the species to 
be perpetuated. 

Details were given of some of the techniques being carried out with endangered species 
of crane, for example the Whooping Crane Grus americana, Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus 
and the Japanese Crane Grus japonensis. Birds suffering from infirmity or old age were 
helped to come into breeding condition by courtship displays imitated by workers, artificial 
insemination was performed, and in areas formerly occupied by the endangered species, 
eggs or young were transferred to the nests of sibling species in which courtship displays 
were sufficiently different for the danger of subsequent hybridization to be small. 

The Puerto Rican Parrot Ama^pna vittata, down to 16 birds in 1971 but now with 29 
birds in the wild and 10-12 in captivity, was an excellent example of the combination of 
environmental conservation with biological investigation. The forests of the Luquillo 
mountains were its only remaining habitat and they were conserved by a government 
agency. However the parrots' numbers continued to fall ever nearer to extinction, due 
primarily to a shortage of nest sites, which had not been suspected; there were also other 
difficulties, including competition from the Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus, which 
first came there about 1950. 

The excellent colour film with sound track The Parrots of Luquillo was shown by Professor 
Ripley in conclusion and illustrated many of the points brought out by him. 


The eighty-sixth Annual General Meeting of the British Ornithologists' Club was held at 
Imperial College, London, S.W.7. on Wednesday 31 May 1978 at 6 p.m. with Mr. P. Hogg 
in the chair. Fourteen members were present. 

The Report of the Committee and Accounts for 1977 were presented and the Hon. 
Treasurer explained that the excess of expenditure over income of £56. was not unsatis- 
factory, as it was less than the non-recurring expenditure on printing and postages for the 
promotion of Bulletin sales. On the Chairman's proposal they were received and adopted 
unanimously. The Editor stated that the material being submitted for the Bulletin was most 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 








































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[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 36 

satisfactory, but that its quantity, together with the financially limited number of pages 
which could be printed in the Bulletin^ was leading to a pre-publication waiting time for 
submitted typescripts of over 9 months. 

There being no nominations additional to those of the Committee, the following were 
declared elected: — 

Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. D. M. Bradley {vice Mr. M. St.J. Sugg, who retired on completion 
of his term of office). 

Hon. Secretary: Mr. R. E. F. Peal (re-elected). 

Committee: Mr. P. J. Oliver {vice Mrs. D. M. Bradley, who retired by rotation). 

The Chairman thanked Mr. Sugg warmly for his services to the Club as Hon. Treasurer 
for the last four years. The Club was greatly indebted to him for the efficiency with which 
he had dealt with the considerable amount of work involved, especially as it had not been 
easy for him to attend meetings due to living at a distance from London. 

The Meeting closed at 6.15 p.m. 

Evidence for the removal of 
Pseudopodoces humilis from the Corvidae 

by Stephen R. Borecky 

Received 8 November iyyy 

Pseudopodoces is a monotypic genus of the family Corvidae endemic to the 
arid regions of central Asia. Hume (1871 : 408) examined several specimens 
of birds collected by Henderson on the Yarkand expedition, and, on the 
basis of the external morphology and distribution of two of these, named two 
new species of the genus Podoces {P. humilis and P. hendersoni). It is difficult to 
understand why Hume would consider these birds to be members of the 
same genus, since his descriptions of their size and colouration do not sub- 
stantiate his conclusions. Zarudny & Loudon (1902: 185) divided Podoces 
into three subgenera, placing Podoces humilis as the sole species of their new 
subgenus Pseudopodoces. They based this on the observation that Pseudopo- 
doces lacks the black plumage of the head and nape and the white wing bars 
characteristic of the other members of the genus. Hartert (1903 : 40) recog- j 
nized that Podoces humilis stood apart from other members of the genus, but I 
did not believe it to be generically separable, and despite the description of 
Pseudopodoces by Zarudny & Loudon (1902), he still maintained that Pseudo-] 
podoces should not be separated on the basis of colour characters (Hartert j 
1932: 30). Hartert stated that he could find no important structural differ- j 
ences, although he mentioned that Pseudopodoces has a shorter tail, bill andi 
outer primary in comparison to Podoces. 

Although Stresemann (1928: 82) used the generic name Pseudopodoces in 
describing the subspecies P. h. saxico/a, he did so without explanation. The; 
earliest discussion I have seen of the validity of Pseudopodoces as a genus is 
that of Riley (1930: 20). In addition to the plumage characters invoked by 
Zarudny & Loudon, and the short tail, bill, and outer primary observed by 
Hartert, Riley mentioned the obsolescent scutation of the acrotarsium ofi 
Pseudopodoces as a characteristic differentiating it from Podoces. 

Thomson (1964: 167) mentioned that Pseudopodoces 'looks more like one 
of the larks (Alaudidae) than a crow'. I do not interpret this statement as 
indicating phylogenetic relationships, but merely as an example of the size 
of this small 'corvid\ The genus 'departs from the family [Corvidae] norm 

37 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

by nesting in crevices in walls or in rodent holes, and in having white eggs' 
(Thomson 1964: 167). Podoces nests in bushes and has spotted eggs. Goodwin 
(1976: 339) adds that Pseudopodoces may also nest in its own excavations in 
earth banks, another non-corvid characteristic. 

I have recently completed a study of the appendicular myology and phylo- 
genetic relaticnships of the avian 'corvid assemblage' (Borecky 1977) that 
included specimens of Podoces hendersoni and Pseudopodoces humilis. After 
examining 25 specimens representing 24 of the 26 genera of the Corvidae, I 
found that all members of the family, with the exception of Pseudopodoces ', 
were characterized by the same combination of both primitive and derived 
myological features. The primary derived character, the presence of a femoral 
head of origin of M. flexor digitorum longus, was absent in Pseudopodoces. 
However, Pseudopodoces possesses several derived states that are not charac- 
teristic of corvids. These are: — the dorsal belly of M. obturatorius lateralis 
is absent; the tendon of insertion of M. flexor perforans et perforatus digiti 
II does not ensheath the tendon of M. flexor digitorum longus nor bifurcate; 
and there are two pneumatic fossae in the humerus. 

On the basis of these anatomical differences as well as the atypical nesting 
behaviour and egg colouration of Pseudopodoces, I suggest that Pseudopodoces 
should not be considered a member of the Corvidae. The question that re- 
mains is that of the true affinities of this bird. In my study of the 'corvid 
assemblage' I also examined representatives of 20 genera of the Sturnidae. 
The behaviour, distribution, and myology of Pseudopodoces is similar to that 
of the sturnids. However, in Pseudopodoces the M. pectoralis pars propatagialis 
longus is tendinous, while it is fleshy (a derived characteristic) in all of the 
sturnids examined. Based on this observation, I am hesitant to conclude that 
Pseudopodoces is closely allied to the Sturnidae. However, I suggest that this 
possibility should not be ruled out until a comprehensive study of the exter- 
nal morphology, osteology, pterylosis, and behaviour of this bird is con- 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Dr. Philip Burton of the British Museum (Natural 
History) for supplying the specimens upon which this study was based. I also wish to 
thank Dr. Kenneth Parkes of Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Dr. Robert 
Raikow of the University of Pittsburgh for reading and criticizing the manuscript. 

References : 

Borecky, S. R. 1977. The appendicular myology and phylogenetic relationships of the 
avian 'corvid assemblage'. Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Pittsburgh. 

Goodwin, D. 1976. Crows of the World. Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press. 

Hartert, E. 1903. Die Vogel der palaarktischen Fauna. Heft I. Berlin, R. Friedlander & Sohn. 

— 1932. Die Vogel der palaarktischen Fauna. Erganzungsband, Heft I. Berlin, R. Fried- 
lander & Sohn. 

Hume, A. 1871. Stray notes on ornithology in India. Ibis: 403-413. 

Riley, J. H. 1930. Birds collected in Inner Mongolia, Kansu, and Chihli by the National 
Geographic Society's Central-China expedition under the direction of F. R. Wulsin. 
Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 77: 1-39. 

Stresemann, E. 1928. Pseudopodoces humilis saxicola subsp. nova. Orn. Monatsb. 36: 82-83. 

Thomson, A. L. 1964. A New Dictionary of Birds. London. 

Zarudny, N. & Loudon, H. 1902. Uber Einteilung des genus Podoces in subgenera. Orn. 
Monatsb. 10: 185. 

Address: Department of Life Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 38 

Piroplasmosis in the masked booby Sula dactylatra 
melanops in the Amirantes, Indian Ocean 

by M. A. Peine & C. /. Feare 

Received 11 January 1978 

The few studies on the haematozoa of birds from islands in the Indian Ocean 
have been largely concerned with land birds (Bennett & Blancou 1974, 
Peirce & Cheke 1977, Peirce et al. 1977), although Lowery (1971) also 
examined some sea birds {Fregata minor, F. ariel, Anous stolidus) on Aldabra. 

During a visit to some of the Seychelles, Amirantes and Farquhar islands 
in Oct.-Nov. 1976 C. J. F. collected blood samples and ticks from seabird 
colonies for further studies on arboviruses (Converse et al. 1975, 1976, 
Hoogstraal et al. 1976) which had been implicated in the desertion of eggs 
and chicks by Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata (Feare 1976). Whenever practicable, 
their blood smears were also collected, using techniques described by Peirce 
et al. (1977), for parasitological examination. The Sooty Tern breeding season 
was over, but in Masked Booby Sula dactylatra melanops colonies all stages of 
the breeding cycle were present. 

Only 2 out of 34 birds examined (Table 1) were found to harbour haema- 
tozoa. Both were nestling Masked Boobies from Desnoeufs, Amirantes, 
and they showed very low parasitaemias with an hitherto unrecorded avian 
piroplasm. The morphology of the intra-erythrocytic parasites was typical 
of Babesia spp., which are tick borne, and they exhibited 'Maltese-cross' 
dividing forms which appear to be characteristic of species from avian 
hosts (Peirce 1975). Unfortunately, an insufficient number of parasites was 
present to permit a detailed description of what is almost certainly a new 
species ; no such parasite has been previously reported from seabirds (Peirce 

J 975). 

Two species of tick are found in Indian Ocean seabird colonies, the argasid 
Omithodoros capensis and the ixodid Amblyomma loculosum. Argasid ticks are 
rarely incriminated as piroplasm vectors, so the more likely vector of this 
tick-transmitted parasite is A. loculosum. The discovery of these parasites in 
booby chicks suggests that transmission from tick to avian host occurs at 
the nest during the breeding season. A. loculosum is reported to be a rapid 
feeder, taking only a few days to complete engorgement (H. Hoogstraal 
pers. comm.) and it is therefore unlikely that many ticks are carried by the 
birds when they disperse from breeding colonies. 

As transmission of Babesia spp. is usually via the transovarial route from 
infected female ticks and then by trans-stadial passage through larvae and 
nymphs to adults, there is probably a permanent reservoir of infected Al 
loculosum in and around nesting colonies. However, only 6 specimens ofj 
A. loculosum have been recorded from Desnoeufs, all of them in June 
(Hoogstraal et al. 1976). None was found in October 1976 when the blooc^ 
smears were taken; nor were any found in the large (c. 3000 pairs) Maskec 1 
Booby colony on Bordeuse. This apparently low density of A. loculosum is 
comparable with that on Bird Island, Seychelles, but contrasts with the heav} 
infestations recorded on African Banks, Amirantes, in June 1974 (Hoogstraa 
et al. 1976) and on Goelette Island, Farquhar Atoll (Stoddart & Poore 1970 
Feare pers. obs. in October 1976). No blood smears have been taken fron 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

seabirds on African Banks, but on Goelette Island no piroplasms were 
found in the blood of fledged but weak Sooty Tern chicks (Table 1), despite 
their high infestation with larvae, nymphs and adults of A. loculosum. 

Western Indian Ocean seabirds examined for blood parasites 

Bird species No. examined Location and date 

No. examined 
/No. infected 

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus pile- Adult 1 /o 

Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata nubilosa Chicks 3/0 

Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata nubilosa Chicks 4/0 

Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata nubilosa Chicks 17/0 

Masked Booby Sula dactylatra Chicks 9/2 

Bird Island. 55 12' E, 3 53' S. 


Bird Island. 55 12' E, 3 53' S. 

Goelette Island, Farquhar Atoll. 
51 08' E, io° 13' S. 24.x. 76. 

Desnoeufs. 53 1' E, 6° 13' S. 

Desnoeufs. 53 1' E, 6° 13' S. 

The absence of other haematozoa from the blood smears collected is 
inconclusive owing to the small sample of birds examined, but it is notable 
that Lowery (1971) found that on Aldabra 7% of seabirds examined were 
infected with haemoproteids. 

The foregoing observations point to a need for further work on the piro- 
plasms and tick vectors and their seasonal dynamics in relation to the varied 
avian reproductive cycles and tick abundances found in the different seabird 

Acknowledgements: C. J. F. thanks the National Geographic Society for a research grant 
which enabled him to visit the seabird colonies, and we are grateful to Dr. Harry Hoogstraal 
for his constant stimulation and advice. 

References : 

Bennett, G. F. & Blancou, J. 1974. A note on the blood parasites of some birds from the 

Republic of Madagascar. /. Wildl. Dis. 10: 239-240. 
Converse, J. D., Hoogstraal, H., Moussa, M. I., Feare, C. J. & Kaiser, M. N. 1975. Solado 

virus from Ornithodoros (Alectorobius) capensis (Ixodoidea: Argasidae) infesting Sooty 

Tern colonies in the Seychelles, Indian Ocean. Am. f. Trop. Med. Hyg. 24: 1010-1018. 
Converse, J. D., Hoogstraal, H., Moussa, M. I., Kaiser, M. N., Casals, J. & Feare, C. J. 

1976. Aride virus, a new ungrouped arbovirus invecting Amblyomma loculosum ticks 

from Roseate Terns in the Seychelles. Arch. Virol. 50: 237-240. 
Feare, C. J. 1976. Desertion and abnormal development in a colony of Sooty Terns infested 

by virus-infected ticks. Ibis 118: 11 2-1 1 5 . 
Hoogstraal, H., Wassef, H. Y., Converse, J. D., Keirans, J. E., Clifford, C. M. & Feare, 

C. J. 1976. Amblyomma loculosum (Ixodoidea: Ixodidae): Identity, marine bird and 

human hosts, virus infection, and distribution in the southern oceans. Ann. Ent. Soc. 

Am. 69: 3-14. 
Lowery, R. S. 1971. Blood parasites of vertebrates on Aldabra. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. 

B.260: 577-580. 
Peirce, M. A. 1975. Nuttallia Franca, 1909 (Babesiidae) preoccupied by Nuttallia 

Dall, 1898 (Psammobiidae) : A re-appraisal of the taxonomic position of the avian 

piroplasms. Int. f. Parasit. 5: 285-287. 
Peirce, M. A. & Cheke, A. S. 1977. Some blood parasites of birds from the Comoro 

Islands./. Protocol. 24: Suppl. 3 3 A. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 40 

Peirce, M. A., Cheke, A. S. & Cheke, R. A. 1977. A survey of blood parasites of birds in 
the Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean, with descriptions of two rew species and 
taxonomic discussion. Ibis 119: 451-461. 

Stoddart, D. R. & Poore, M. E. D. 1970. Geography and ecology of Farquhar Atoll. 
Atoll Res. Bull. 136: 7-26. 

Addresses: M. A. Peirce, 6 Barrie House, Hartland Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 iJT. 
C. J. Feare, Greenfields, The Street, Ewhurst, Surrey, GU6 7RH. 

An oviduct egg of the 

Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus 

by J. F. R. Colebrook-Robjent 

Received 10 January 1978 

Medway & Wells (1976) give 2 breeding records for Cuculus micropterus in the 
Malay Peninsula, both involving juvenile specimens, taken in July and 
September respectively. They could find no records of eggs or nestlings and 
state that the hosts of this cuckoo are unknown in Malaya. 

On 29 April 1964 I shot a $ of the resident race C. m. concretus as it flew 
over a path in primary forest at canopy height just before dusk, north of Kota 
Tinggi in the state of Johore (c. i° 50' N, 103 55' E), altitude under 150m 
a.s.l. The oviduct contained a fully formed and pigmented egg, unfortunately 
broken by the shot. However, I noted that the shape appeared to be blunt 
on the broad pole and the colour of the yolk (surprisingly for a cuckoo) I 
recorded as 'deep orange'. The colour of the egg is very pale pinkish-grey, j 
over which small spots of dark liver-brown (largest spots about 1 mm) are I 
scattered rather regularly. Underlying these are less numerous and smaller 
spots of grey, all somewhat more concentrated around the broadest part 
of the egg. The egg has been repaired and now measures approximately 
20 X 1 5 mm, certainly substantially less than its original size. It is not unlike i 
some eggs laid by Dicrurus species. 

The female has wing length 165 mm, tail 144 mm and anterior margin of 
nostril to bill tip 17 mm. It may not be in definitive adult plumage as the 
breast is rufous-buff and barred dark brown, and the tail is in irregular 
moult, the left and right outer rectrices being respectively 45 and 34 mm 
shorter than the central pair. The third and fourth right rectrices are 6 mm 
shorter than the second. Rufous notches are present on the webs of the 
central rectrices, evidently also indicating subadult plumage (Medway & 
Wells). The iris is brown, the gape, eyelids and feet yellow, as also is the 
hind claw, the other claws being horn-brown. The upper mandible and the 
cutting edge of the lower mandible are horn, the remainder of the bill grey, t 
The stomach was packed with green and other caterpillars. 

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to Dr. D. R. Wells for commenting upon an early draft 
of this note. 

References : 

Medway, Lord & Wells, D. R. 1976. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula Vol. V. Conclusions ant 
survey of every species. London: H. F. & G. Witherby. 

Address: Musumanene, P.O. Box 303, Choma, Zambia. 

41 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Convergence between Terpsiphone corvina, T. atrochalybea 
and Vie\orhynchus alecto 

by P. W. Greig-Smith 

Received 16 November 1977 
During studies of endemic landbirds in the Seychelles islands, Indian Ocean, 
in Sept and Oct 1976, I was impressed by the close resemblance in plumage 
of the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone corvina to a species which I 
observed in Papua New Guinea in 1973, the Shining Monarch Flycatcher 
Pie^orhynchus alecto. A third species, the Sao Tome Paradise Flycatcher 
Terpsiphone atrochalybea, is also very similar. This paper describes the extent 
of the similarities, and discusses whether they can be attributed to similar 
selection pressures. Several P. alecto of both sexes, and one male T. corvina 
were mist-netted and examined in the field, and subsequently skins of all 
three species were examined in the British Museum (Natural History). 

T. corvina now exists as a single population on La Digue, though previously 
occurring also on other islands (see Benson 1971). The species is illustrated 
by Newton (1867) and Penny (1974). The adult male is entirely glossy blue 
black, with a pale blue fleshy eye-ring extending in a line to the corner of the 
gape. The bill is blue, and the gape vivid yellow-orange. As in most Paradise 
Flycatchers, the central tail feathers are greatly elongated (up to 300 mm, 
see Benson 1971). The female's plumage is strikingly different, the upperparts 
being bright rufous, the underparts white, and the whole head glossy black. 
The tail is not elongated as in the male, and there is no line between the blue 
eye-ring and the bill. 

P. alecto is widely distributed throughout the lowland forests of New 
Guinea (Rand & Gilliard 1967). I observed P. a. chalybeocephalus in the Sepik 
District, Papua New Guinea, but all subspecies have similar plumage 
patterns. The male is entirely glossy blue black, and has a blue bill and 
yellow-orange gape similar to male T. corvina. The only major difference is 
the lack of a long tail and a blue eye-ring in P. alecto. The female has a plumage 
pattern very similar to female T. corvina. differing only in the lesser extent of 
the black plumage on the head. I could not distinguish the shade of rufous 
on the upperparts of the two species when skins were compared. 

T. atrochalybea is restricted to Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea (Bannerman 
1936). The male is entirely glossy blue black, with a long tail. The female 
resembles females of the other two species (P. alecto more closely than T. 
corvina, since the throat is white), except that the underparts are mottled with 
blue black. The bill and legs are blue. 

Can these resemblances be due to a close systematic relationship? Keast 
(1958) placed alecto in Pie^orhynchus, but others have referred the species to 
Monarcha (Rand & Gilliard 1967, Morony et al. 1975) or Myiagra (e.g. 
Diamond 1972. Storr 1977, Slater 1975). These three genera have not been 
considered to be particularly closely related to Terpsiphone, though all are 
in the same subfamily (Muscicapidae ; Monarchinae). However, it is very 
likely that this is the case, and that the genus Terpsiphone is most closely 
related to the genus Pie^prhynchus (I. C. J. Galbraith in litt.). At least some of 
the resemblances may therefore be ancestral, especially as the variation in 
colour and pattern of plumage in these genera is rather limited. Nevertheless, 
because T. corvina and T. atrochalybea are probably independent derivatives of 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 42 

T. viridis of continental Africa (Hall & Moreau 1970, Benson 1971), which 
is much less like P. alecto, it is highly improbable that P. alecto is most closely 
related to either of the two island species within Terpsiphone, and therefore 
it appears that there has been convergent, or at least parallel, development 
of the resemblances between Pie^prhynchus and Terpsiphone. 

It seems appropriate to seek parallels in the ecology of the species, particu- 
larly as Holyoak & Thibault (1977) have demonstrated the adaptiveness of 
plumage patterns and colours in some other monarchine flycatchers. Sexual 
dimorphism in plumage is usually associated with a division of labour be- 
tween the sexes. In T. corvina, the male carries out territory defence (Gaymer 
et al. 1969, Penny 1974, pers. obs.), while the female does most nest-building, 
incubation and feeding of nestlings, although assisted occasionally by the 
male (Penny 1974, Fayon 1971, Fraser 1972, pers. obs.). The scant informa- 
tion available for P. alecto suggests that the roles of the sexes are broadly 
similar to those in T. corvina, the female carrying out most nest duties 
(Gilliard & Lecroy 1966, Rand & Gilliard 1967, pers. obs.). If plumage 
patterns have evolved to be appropriate to these roles, females might be 
expected to have camouflage to reduce predation at the nest, while males 
might have more conspicuous display plumage. In the shady Terminalia- 
Calophyllum woodland in which T. corvina breeds on La Digue, I found males 
to be very conspicuous, and females, being both disruptively patterned and 
counter-shaded, less so. Fayon (1971) also considered females to be more 
difficult to detect. P. alecto occurs in structurally similar woodland, though 
also in mangroves and dense forest understory (Gilliard & Lecroy 1966, 
Rand & Gilliard 1967, pers. obs.), and the nest is built in low, exposed 
branches, as in T. corvina (see Rand & Gilliard 1967, Fraser 1972). I found males 
more conspicuous than females, though both were less obvious than T. corvina. 

The gross patterns of plumage of these two species appear to be appropri- 
ate to the sexes' roles in nesting and territoriality. Unfortunately, even less 
is known of the biology of T. atrochalybea, and it is not possible to assess 
whether it shows similar ecology and behaviour, although this is possible 
(see Bannerman 1936, Snow 1950). 

Holyoak & Thibault (1977) interpreted the plumage saturation of Poly- 
nesian Pomarea flycatchers as providing camouflage from their insect prey 
(although in some species it may also have a display function). Although the 
two Terpsiphone species and P. alecto are insectivorous (the former by fly- 
catching, the latter by gleaning), and Fayon (1971) and A. S. Cheke (pers. 
comm.) thought that male T. corvina spend more time than females in the 
more shaded lower parts of trees, it seems doubtful that selection pressures 
associated with foraging niches alone could have produced such extreme 
sexual dimorphism. 

In both T. corvina and P. alecto, the orange-yellow gape is displayed most 
prominently when the bill is opened wide to utter a harsh scolding call, 
together with erection of the black crown feathers. This call, which may be a 
threat display, sounds very similar in the two species, and T. atrochalybea 
apparently has a similar call (Bannerman 1936), perhaps a reflection of their 
probable close systematic relationship. 

Although plumage resemblance appears to be correlated with general 
similarities in ecology, at least for T. corvina and P. alecto, there is no obvious 
peculiarity of these three species which sets them aside from other monarchine 

43 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

flycatchers. (However, in some species with less extreme sexual dimorphism, 
the sexes take a more equal role in nesting — e.g. T. viridis (Moreau 1949, 
Skead 1967).) The convergence of T. corvina and T. atrochalybea might be a 
consequence of competitive release and relief from predation in similar small 
island environments, but this can hardly be so in P. afecto, which exists in very 
species-rich communities. Perhaps there are subtle features of their habitats 
which make these particular plumage patterns adaptive, while a shared phylo- 
geny and conservatism of plumage probably contribute to the resemblance. 

Acknowledgements : I am grateful to all who assisted me during my visits to Papua New 
Guinea and Seychelles (acknowledged in full elsewhere). I. C. J. Galbraith kindly advised 
me regarding the systematic position of P. alecto, and C. W. Benson, A. S. Cheke, C. H. 
Fry, D. T. Holyoak, and D. W. Snow made helpful comments on the manuscript. 

References : 

Bannerman, D. A. 1936. The Birds of West Tropical Africa. Vol. 4. Crown Agents, London. 

Benson, C. W. 1971. Notes on Terpsiphone and Coracina spp. in the Malagasy region. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 91: 56-64. 
Diamond, J. M. 1972. Avifauna of the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea. Pubis. Nuttall 

Ornithol. Club 12. Cambridge, Mass. 
Fayon, M. 1971. The plight of the Paradise Flycatcher./. Seychelles Soc. 7: 8-1 1. 
Fraser, W. 1972. Notes on Terpsiphone corvina. Ibis 114: 399-401. 
Gaymer, R., Blackman, R. A. A., Dawson, P. G., Penny, M. & Penny, C. M. 1969. The 

endemic birds of Seychelles. Ibis in : 157-176. 
Gilliard, E. T. & Lecroy, M. 1966. Birds of the Middle Sepik Region. Bull. Amer. Mus. 

Nat. Hist. 132: 245-276. 
Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. 

British Museum (Natural History) : London. 
Holyoak, D. T. & Thibault, J.-C. 1977. Habitats morphologie et inter-actions-ecologiques 

des oiseaux insectivores de Polynesie orientale. L'Oiseau et R.F.O. 47: 11 5-147. 
Keast, A. J. 1958. Variation and speciation in the Australian flycatachers (Aves: Musici- 

capinae). Rec. Austr. Mus. 24: 73-108. 
Moreau, R. E. 1949. The breeding of the Paradise Flycatcher. Ibis 91: 256-279. 
Morony, J. J. Jr., Bock, W. J. & Farrand, J. Jr. 1975. Reference List of the Birds of the 

World. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. : New York. 
Newton, E. 1 867. On the land birds of the Seychelles Archipelago. Ibis Series 2 (3) : 33 5-360. 
Penny, M. 1974. The Birds of Seychelles and the Outlying Islands. Collins: London. 
Rand, A. L. & Gilliard, E. T. 1967. Handbook of New Guinea Birds. London. 
Skead, C. J. 1967. A study of the Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis (Muller). Ostrich 

38: 123-132. 
Slater, P. 1975. A Field Guide to Australian Birds. Passerines. Scottish Academic Press: 

Snow, D. W. 1950. The birds of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea. Ibis 92: 

1 579-595- 

Storr, G. 1977. Birds of the Northern Territory. Spec. Publ. West. Aust. Mus. 7. 

Address: School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BNi 9QG. 

A new race of Parisoma lugens from the 
highlands of Bale, Ethiopia 

by C. Erard 

Received 11 fanuary 1978 
In the material brought back from Ethiopia by various expeditions organised 
by the Laboratoire de Zoologie (Mammiferes et Oiseaux), Museum National 
d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, there is a series of 15 Parisoma lugens. These 
specimens are not homogeneous, 4 of them being easily distinguishable by 
their dark coloration. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 44 

These 4 emanate from the mountains of Mendebo-Araenna, in the pro- 
vince of Bale. Three were collected at Dinsho (=Gurie, 7 06' N, 39 47' E), 
27 and 31 March 1968, by a team consisting of J. Dorst, F. Roux and R. 
Chauvancy; and the fourth half-way between Adaba (7 01' N, 39 25' E) 
and Goba (7 01 ' N, 39 59' E), 25 February 1971, by a team comprising J. 
Prevost, G. Jarry and N. Follet. These birds differ biometrically (mm and 
gm) from others from central and western Ethiopia: — 




(from skull) 


















(11 -5-12) 








Thus they are larger but lighter than birds of the nominate race, described 
from Simien. The increase in size is not surprising, for they were collected 
at altitudes between 3,500 and 3,700 m, the others between 1,600 and 
2,100 m. 

Although they must be stressed, it was not only these biometnc differences 
which attracted attention. As already indicated, we were particularly struck 
by the colour of the Bale birds. It is significant that the collectors themselves 
were puzzled and hesitant in arriving at a species determination. 

Three geographic races of Parisoma lugens are recognised on the basis of 
colour variation by White (1962: 737): — 

P. I. lugens (Riippell), of the Ethiopian plateaux. 

P. I. jacksoni Sharpe (Synonym P. I. clara Meise), from the southeastern 
Sudan and Kenya south to Malawi and southeastern Zaire. Upperparts 
uniformly sepia-brown, whereas in the nominate race the crown is still more 
dark and sepia than the back. 

P. I. prigoginei Schouteden, northwest of Lake Tanganyika. Upperparts 
more olive-brown, the crown contrasting with the back, and above all the 
chest much washed with grey. 

For 2 more precise distribution of P. lugens, reference must be made to 
Hall & Moreau (1970: 201), in which however the Ethiopian specimens 
recorded by Erlanger (1907: 53) are not shown, and are as follows: $, 
30.iii.1900, Gara Mulata (9 05' N, 41 ° 30' E), west of Harar; $, n.xii. 
1900, Abela (7 01' N, 38 31' E), near Lake Awasa; $, 7.11.1901, Ireso 
(c. 7 N, 39 15' E), near Dodola, Arussi-Gallaland; unsexed, 1 9.11.1901, 
Ghinir (7 06' N, 40 40' E), Bale. These specimens, except that from Abela, 
still exist in the collection of the Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt- 
am-Main, and we have been able to examine them. 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(a)] 

Figure 1. Ethiopian localities from which specimens of P. lugens have been examined. 
Round: P. I. lugens. Asterisk: P. I. griseiventris. Dotted areas: above 3,000 m. 

Not having sufficient comparative material in Paris, we have studied the 
long series in the British Museum (Natural History), Tring, paying particular 
attention to variability in the Ethiopian populations of the nominate race, 
of which we have examined 40 specimens, well spread over its area of distri- 
bution (Fig. 1). It is plain that the Bale birds do not belong to the same sub- 
species as the others from Ethiopia, differing in a number of characters. 

The upperparts of the Bale birds are very dark, blackish sepia, the crown 
and the mantle appearing practically concolorous. In individuals of the 
nominate race, the sepia crown contrasts more or less clearly, always to 
some extent, with the paler, less blackish, back. No lugens examined has the 
upperparts so dark and uniform. 

Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1955: 174) consider the contrast between the 
crown and the mantle in nominate lugens as a character of youth, an opinion 
which we cannot support. As noted from a specimen collected on 27 Septem- 
ber 1971 at Ghimbi (9 12' N, 35 50' E), in Wollega, and which still showed 
yellow gape-flanges, the immature plumage is characterised by a very pro- 
nounced rufous tone superimposed on the brown of the upperparts (includ- 
ing the crown), rufous also being apparent on the margins of the wing 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 46 

coverts and remiges, and as a wash on the flanks, lower abdomen and under 

The underparts of the Bale birds are generally very grey (scarcely paler on 
the lower abdomen), not white washed with greyish buff on the chest and 
brownish on the flanks (Fig. 2). The chin and upper throat are mixed blackish 
brown and whitish, but the appearance is darker than in the nominate race. 
There is less contrast in comparison with the remainder of the underparts, 
due to the throat as a whole, chest and upper abdomen being indistinctly 
streaked with grey-brown. 

The lower abdomen, inner flanks and under tail-coverts show a very clear 
reduction, almost absence of buff, this tone being much diluted, only barely 
apparent on the lowermost extremity of the abdomen and as an indistinct 
wash on the under tail-coverts. 

The white on the outer rectrices is more greyish and, especially, less exten- 
sive, notably on the inner web and at the apex of the outer web. 

All these differences from nominate lugens as described above are even 
more evident if the Bale birds are compared with jacksoni, also well repre- 
sented in Tring, since jacksoni is paler than lugens. However, they have in 
common a lack of contrast between the crown and the mantle. 

We have examined 2 males and 2 females of P. I. prigoginei, preserved in 
the Musee de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren. They show the characters as 
given by Schouteden (1952). On the underparts, this race is well characterised 
by its blackish brown chin scarcely marked with white, and its greyish chest, 
contrasting with the white throat and abdomen. On the upperparts the 
crown contrasts with the back in being darker. The outer rectrices have less 
white than in lugens or jacksoni, as emphasised in Dowsett & Prigogine 
(1974: 36). Furthermore, in prigoginei the upperparts, flanks, lower abdomen 
and under tail-coverts are more rufous in tone than in the other races, result- 
ing in a brighter, warmer appearance. Thus prigoginei shows some tendency 
towards the Bale birds in its greyish chest, yet not so dark, and in the reduc- 
tion of white on the outer rectrices. 

However, as the following measurements (mm) show, prigoginei is even 
larger, with a robuster bill, than the Bale birds : — 

Wing Tail Bill (from skull) 

2o*o* 68-69-5 60-63 13 -5-1 5 

2$$ 68-69-5 62-5-63 14-5-15 

The Bale birds are equally distinct in colour, by being uniformly very grey 
on the underparts, with much more matt, darker, colder tones, lacking any 
rusty on the upperparts, and by an extreme reduction of buff on the flanks, 
lower abdomen and under tail-coverts. 

Thus the specimens from the highlands of Bale represent a distinct taxon 
which we propose to name : 

Parisoma lugens griseiventris subsp. nov. 

Diagnosis: The darkest race. Upperparts uniformly dull blackish sepia; 
underparts grey, white barely apparent, with a significant reduction of buff 
on the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts. 

Type: Adult q*, collected at Dinsho (=Gurie), Bale, Ethiopia, 31 March 
1968, by a team composed of Prof. J. Dorst, F. Roux and R. Chauvancy, 
collectors' no. 236; in Paris Museum, reg. no. C. G. 1977-827. 

47 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Measurements and weight of type : Wing 64, tail 61, bill 12-5 mm, weight 13 g. 

Distribution: High altitudes in the mountains of Mendebo-Araenna, 
province of Bale, southeastern Ethiopia. 

Remarks: Erlanger's 3 remaining specimens (the one from Abela has 
disappeared) are interesting from their geographical situation, for they are 
near the eastern edge of the Ethiopian distribution (Fig. 1). According to 
Erlanger's itinerary (/. Orn. 52, 1904, suppl.: general map and map 2), 
these localities are all situated at altitudes well below 2,500 m, in fact near to 
2,000 m, even 1,500 m in the case of Ghinir. The 3 specimens belong without 
question to the nominate race, including the one from Ireso only c. 20 km 
from Adaba. The change from the pale nominate race to the dark, montane, 
griseiventris is thus sharp, possibly without any intergradation. Not only is 
griseiventris very distinct in colour (also large-sized, albeit lighter in weight), 
but also in ecology, more particularly in habitat. 

The nominate race, according to the evidence obtained by the various 
expeditions of the Paris Museum, frequents open or slightly enclosed 
biotopes, but always wooded; light wooded savannas of a humid type, 
interspersed with shrubs (especially of Acacia); edges of degraded forest; 
gallery forests with Ficus and Acacia trees. In such places Acacia is always 
present, and from it the bird seems inseparable : cf. also Cheesman & Sclater 
(1935: 599), Benson (1946: 182-183), Urban & Brown (1971: 93). 

P. /.jacksoni apparently has a similar association, and is no less strictly 
linked to Acacia growth than nominate /ugens, judging for example from the 
information in Jackson (1938: 910), Benson (1950: 36), Chapin (1953: 
601), Dowsett & Prigogine (1974: 36) and Benson & Benson (1977: 20, 
153). Like /ugens, jacksoni seems not to occur anywhere above 2,500 m. 
Indeed it appears to be no more than occasional above 2,000 m, in degraded 
forest, as with /ugens on the Ethiopian plateaux. 

P. I. prigoginei is included by Prigogine (1975 : 85) in his list of subalpine 
forms, with an altitudinal distribution from 2,620 to 3,220 m in Itombwe, 
where it inhabits watercourses in bushy savanna (Prigogine 1971: 185). In 
that area the highest summit — Mount Mohi — reaches 3,475 m. Prigogine 
(pers. comm.) has not personally observed prigoginei in life, and has no 
precise notes on its habitat. However, this race is undoubtedly associated 
with the subalpine zone in view of the altitudes of collecting localities. 
Bamboos and heaths do not generally occur above 3,000 m, giving way 
higher to a short herbaceous growth dominated by such afro-alpines as 
Helichrysum, Alchemilla and Senecio. Thus the Itombwe race must be associa- 
ted with a vegetation series only just below the afro-alpine stage. 

P. I. griseiventris is the most montane race, frequenting altitudes above 
3,500 m. Its habitat lies in the upper montane vegetation series, in woody 
moorlands dominated by Erica , Euphorbia and Hypericum (for a description 
of the environment around Dinsho, cf. Dorst & Roux 1972). In movements 
and vocalisations it is like a Sylvia warbler, as much in the top of shrubby 
vegetation (notably heaths) as in frutescent tufts. This ecological localisation 
is very different from that of /ugens and jacksoni. Despite the lack of precise 
information from Itombwe, it would seem that the habitats of griseiventris 
and prigoginei may be very similar, if not identical, both different from those 
of the other two races, their presence not tied to that of Acacia. 

In Zaire the forms prigoginei of Itombwe and jacksoni of Marungu are 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 48 

geographically widely separated. By contrast, in Ethiopia lugens and grisei- 
ventris occur close to one another, the latter being almost surrounded by the 
former (Fig. 1). So the altitudinal separation between the two forms needs 
stressing. P. I. griseiventris is seemingly isolated from lugens by a belt of 
forest suitable to neither. This occupation of different, well separated, altitu- 
dinal zones, as well as the profound habitat-difference, poses the question of 
a possible reproductive isolation between the two forms. Only precise eco- 
ethological studies on the ground will permit a solution. Attention should 
be paid in particular to possible voice-differences. 

There seem to be no differences in the nature and size of the food taken 
by the two Ethiopian forms. Out of 11 stomachs of lugens examined, 10 
contained small caterpillars 10 to 20 mm long, 3 the chitinous debris of 
small insects, one of spiders, and another of aphids. The 4 stomachs of 
griseiventris also contained small caterpillars (3), small insects (2), and one 
showed some vegetable debris. Not much is known about the diet oijacksoni 
except that Jackson (1938 : 910) found seeds and small berries in the stomachs 
of 2 males, and Chapin (1953: 601) states that the food consists of insects, 
occasionally varied by berries. 

Acknowledgements: Grateful thanks are due to Dr. D. W. Snow, I. C. J. Galbraith and 
other staff in the bird room at Tring, for their kind welcome and for working facilities ; 
to Dr. J. Steinbacher and Dr. D. S. Peters, of Frankfurt-am-Main, and Dr. M. Louette, 
of Tervuren, for the loan of specimens; to Prof. J. Dorst, F. Roux, G. Jarry and Dr. A. 
Prigogine for information about habitat; and finally to C. W. Benson, who has commented 
on and translated the original manuscript. 

References : 

Benson, C. W. 1946. Notes on the birds of southern Abyssinia. Ibis 88: 180-205. 

— 1950. The Brown Tit-babbler and the Blackcap in Nyasaland. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 70: 

Benson, C. W. & Benson, F. M. 1977. The birds of Malawi. Limbe, Malawi: D. W. K. 

Macpherson (Sponsor). 
Chapin, J. P. 1953. The birds of the Belgian Congo. Part 3. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 

Cheesman, R. E. & Sclater, W. L. 1935. On a collection of birds from north western 

Abyssinia, Part III. Ibis 13 (5): 594-622. 
Dorst, J. & Roux, F. 1972. Esquisse ecologique sur l'avifaune des monts du Bale, Ethiopie. 

LOiseauet R.F.O. 42: 203-240. 
Dowsett, R. J. & Prigogine, A. 1974. The avifauna of the Marungu highlands in J. J. 

Symoens (edit.): Exploration hydrobiologique du bassin du lac Bangweolo et du Luapula, 

Bruxelles, Vol. XIX: 1-67. 
Erlanger, C. F. von. 1907. Beitrage zur Vogelfauna Nordostafrica. V. /. Orn. 55: 1-58. 
Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. London: 

Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). 
Jackson, F. J. 1938. The Birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. Vol. 2. London: 

Gurney & Jackson. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1955. Birds of Eastern and North Eastern 

Africa. Vol. 2. London: Longmans. 
Prigogine, A. 1971. Les oiseaux de lTtombwe et de son hinterland. Ann. Mus. Roy. Afr. 

Centr. Tervuren 185: 1-298. 
Prigogine A. 1975. Contribution a l'etude de la distribution verticale des oiseaux orophiles. 

Gerfaut 64: 75-88. 
Schouteden, H. 1952. Parisoma lugens Prigoginei n. ssp. Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr. 46: 1 71-173. 
Urban, E. K. & Brown, L. H. 1971. A Check-list of the Birds of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: 

Haile Sellassie I University Press. 
White, C. M. N. 1962. A check list of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae). Part II. 

Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. S. Rhod. 26B: 663-738. 
Address: Laboratoire de Zoologie (Mammiferes et Oiseaux), Museum National d'Histoire 

Naturelle, 55 rue de Buffon, 75005 Paris. 

Figure 2. Races oi Part soma lugens. Above downwards: one jacksoni, two Ittgens, two 
griseiventris (subsp. nov.), two prigoginei. 

[BxJI. B.O.C. T(} 7 8: 98(2)] 50 

The undescribed female of Harwood's Francolin 
Francotinus harwoodi and other observations on the species 

by J. S. Ash 

Received 28 October iyjy 


Figure 1. Under parts of Francolinus harwoodi illustrating slight sexual dimorphism in 
this species: female above, male below. 

Figure 2. Francotinus harwoodi breast feathers: left — male, right — female. Scale in tenths 
of an inch. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Figure 3. The distribution of colours on the mandibles of Francolinus harwoodi \ the shaded 
areas are red, the solid areas are black, o* left, $ right. 

Harwood's Francolin Francolinus harwoodi is one of the rare and virtually 
unknown birds of Africa (Hall & Moreau 1962). Until recently it has been 
known from only 3 specimens collected in the last 78 years in the Blue Nile 
gorge in north central Ethiopia. All were males. The purpose of this paper 
is to detail 4 more specimens (one male and three females), to describe the 
previously unknown female, and to discuss sightings of apparently similar 
birds over a much wider area of central Ethiopia. The 7 specimens collected 
so far (Table 1) are from 4 localities in the Blue Nile gorge or its tributaries. 
The type locality (Ogilvie-Grant 1900) Aheafeg (=Ahaia Fej— Haiafegg; 
Amharic for donkey killer) is 49 km northeast of where I collected in the 
Jemmu Valley; Cheesman & Sclater's (193$) localities near Bichana and at 
Kalo Ford are respectively 87 km northwest and 102 km to the west of the 
Jemmu site. Of the 4 new specimens, one was an adult male, 2 were first 
year females and one an adult female. Age was determined, as in other 
francolins, by the shape of the 2 outermost primaries. In juveniles the prim- 
aries are pointed, not rounded as in adults, and the 2 outermost are retained 
through the first pre-basic moult until the birds are about 14 months old. 

Description of the male and female Francolinus harwoodi 

The Jemmu male, with which the Jemmu female needs to be compared, 
differs in some respects from the original description and plate of the type 
specimen (a male), in Ogilvie-Grant & Lovat (1900), perhaps due to the 
colour printing or to a change in colour values with time. The whole of the 
upperparts of the Jemmu male skin is a greyer tone of brown than the type 
in their plate, and the buff on the underparts is paler; both new and old 
feathers on the lower neck and upper breast have narrower white edging 
so that the general effect is darker; the red on the mandibles, round the eye 
and the legs, is darker, and the bare patch round the eye more extensive. 
The female is very similar to the adult Jemmu male; sexual dimorphism 
is not at all emphatic. Over the whole of the upperparts, the female is 
slightly browner than the male, which is greyer and colder in tone. In all 
sex and age plumages the barring of the upperparts is indistinct, but in the 
female it is more pronounced, though the pale fringes to the feathers, prob- 
ably as a result of wear, are, in fact, less distinct. Similarly on the underparts 
(Fig. 1), all the darker markings are browner in the female and greyer in the 
male, although their distribution is the same. The breast feathers are more 
pointed in the male than in the female and their pattern is more contrasting. 
In the centre of the underparts the male has scattered feathers with dark 
fairly large U-shaped markings, whereas the female has only small v-shaped 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 52 

marks, which tend to form bars on the flanks (Fig. 1) — but these slight differ- 
ences may be individual, especially as comparison shows that the first year 
female's underparts are intermediate between the adult male and female. 
The whole of the upperparts of the first-year female is very close to that of 
the adult female except the barring is less distinct, and thus approaches the 
male. The female lacks spurs. The colours of the mandibles of all 3 females 
at death were very similar, but that of the male showed a rather less extensive 
area of black (Fig. 3). The testes of the adult male measured 10x4 mm, the 
largest follicle in the adult female was <i • 5 mm and in the first year female 
it was 3 mm. 


It is reasonable to suppose from my experience that the species occurs in 
the country in between the present known localities, and probably outside. 
Cheesman commented that the local people knew it well in the Bichana area, 
and I found that in the Jemmu Valley, which is partly cultivated for sorghum 
after the rains by the surrounding highland people, it was said to be common 
'up and down the river*. Prior to 1977, I had seen possible F. harwoodi in 
this area on 6 April 1974 and 11/ 12 January 1975 : but my misgivings were 
due to rather similar birds, seen at Gibe Gorge and elsewhere (see below) 
which did not entirely agree with descriptions of this species. However, 
Tyler & Tyler (1975) saw up to 6 francolins at the same Jemmu site on 5-7 
January 1975, which they confidently identified as harwoodi. I decided that 
certain identification rested on the collection of specimens, for which a male 
was required, and that an attempt should also be made to collect the un- 
described female if the male proved to be harwoodi. In a careful search of 
the Jemmu area in February 1977 at least 40 birds were present and the 
specimens were obtained. 

Unidentified francolins were seen in the course of several visits to the Gibe 
Gorge (8° 15' N, 37 35' E, 1696 m), at c. 250 km SW from Jemmu, at 
different times of the year from May 1971 onwards. This is on the border of 
Shoa and Kaffa Provinces, about 1 8 5 km south of the nearest F. harwoodi 
locality. I suspected, from a bird seen closely on 7 November 1971, that 
these also were Harwood's Francolins. The habitat on the gentle northerly 
slopes of the valley there is open Combretum\Terminalia woodland in high 
dense Hyparrhenia grassland. The birds were extremely difficult to see well, 
although they were often heard in the dense grass, and attempts to obtain 
a specimen failed. F. clappertoni, which has a somewhat similar call to F. 
harwoodi, was ruled out by the absence of a pale supercilium, the absence of 
a white throat, which was grey and heavily streaked in the Gibe Gorge 
birds, and by the lack of distinctly patterned upperparts. However, the 
more heavily blotched appearance of the breast suggested clappertoni rather 
than harwoodi. The legs were red, and on one bird whose mandibles were 
seen well both upper and lower were black with a red base to the latter. 
The mantle appeared to be a uniform dark brownish colour and because 
no barring was seen it was thought that they may not have been F. harwoodi. 
Since then I have realized that the barred upperparts of harwoodi are not 
clearly discernible in the field. 

From a vehicle on 16 April 1975, at c. 450 km to the WSW of Jemmu, I 
saw 4 francolins looking very like the Gibe birds, at 39 km northeast of 

53 [Bull. BJO.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Dembidollo at 8° 47' N, 3 5 00' E in Illubabor Province. This was an area 
of mixed shrubs and cultivated patches on the plateau at 1 340 m. Bill coloura- 
tion was not seen, otherwise they matched the description of the Gibe Gorge 
birds except that the feathers of the mantle had pale edges. 

Whether these more southerly and westerly birds are F. harwoodi awaits 
determination by better field observations, or preferably specimens. 


Mackworth-Praed & Grant's (1952) 'probably only found among the 
cliffs of the Blue Nile gorges southwest of Lake Tana' is misleading. Both 
the original and the recent records are from localities between southeast and 
south-southeast of Lake Tana. In addition, besides there being no other 
observations on habitat, in the Jemmu Valley I have never seen these franco- 
lins anywhere near the few low cliffs which exist there. There they live in 
dense and extensive Typha beds growing in the gravelly bed of a stream 
flowing into the Jemmu River. The Typha beds were c. o • 5 km wide and 
2-3 km long ; the stream was very shallow and divided into several branches, 
which as they receded in the dry season left numerous small pools behind. 
Also in the Typha there are several scattered trees, some pollarded, into 
which some F. harwoodi were seen flying when it was almost dark, evidently 
to roost, although most of them roost below the tops of the Typha, but not 
necessarily on the ground. 


In February there was a lot of calling from birds in the Typha, starting 
about 20 minutes before sunrise and continuing for 2-3 hours whilst the 
birds emerged to feed in the adjacent sorghum stubble. Calling was also 
heard for a short time just before sunset. The call was a loud rasping 'koree', 
not unlike that of F. clappertoni. Birds disturbed in the open always flew 
straight back into the Typha, but unlike some francolins in other habitats 
(see below) allowed fair observation whilst feeding, though without close 
approach. During the hotter part of the day birds were disturbed from deep 
shade in the Typha either under trees or below low brush. 


There is no previous breeding data, so it is of interest to record a brood 
of 3 young about 5 weeks old (estimated on the basis of much previous 
experience with Common Partridges Perdix perdix) on 20-21 February 
1977. From this it can be deduced that the first egg was laid in the second 
week of December. 


Hall (1963) included in the vermiculated group of francolins, bicalcaratus \ 
icterorhynchus ; clappertoni, hildebrandti , natalensis, hartlaubi, harwoodi, adspersus 
and capsnsis, and claimed that the first 6 of these formed a superspecies. 
F. harwoodi is most like F. natalensis, which is a species showing rather more 
sexual dimorphism. The upperparts of male F. hildebrandti are actually nearer 
to harwoodi than those of harwoodi are to natalensis, but there is marked 
sexual dimorphism in hildebrandti in which the females are very different 
below from the males. The degree of dimorphism in F. harwoodi is even less. 

In the Jemmu Valley area, F. harwoodi comes in contact with no francolins 
except probably F. erckelii, which is common on the slopes of the gorge. 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 


It is isolated from F.p. psilolaemus, which is common on the open grassland 
above the gorge, and by at least 50 km from populations of F. clappertoni, 
which is the nearest member of Hall's vermiculated group. 

The Jemmu Valley is unique in my experience in Ethiopia in possessing 
elements of lowland western species together with typical highland species. 
The lowland species include Streptopelia vinacea, Cisticola troglodytes ferruginea, 
Sporopipes frontalis, Petronia dentata and Euplectes hordeaceus; the highland 
species include Motacilla clarus, Streptopelia lugens and Poicephalus flavifrons. 
Clearly the highland species overspill into the valleys from the surrounding 
high plateau, but some of the lowland species are a long way to the east of 
their known range. Presumably they extend all the way up the Blue Nile 
gorge and its tributaries, and only further investigation in this little known 
area will show whether their distribution is continuous or if this is an isolated 
population in the Jemmu Valley. 


One crop contained many small tubers of what was probably a species 
of Dioscorea. Two gizzards contained a similar tuber, many termites, grit, 
and the following seeds: 2 Echinochloa sp., possibly E. crusgalli var. frumen- 
tacea\ 11 Commelinaceae and fragments; 2 Amaranthus sp. and 9 unidentified 
berry-like fruits, together with other fragments. 


Francolinus harwoodi need no longer be considered the very rare bird that 
it was formerly thought to be, and there is no reason to believe that it is at 
any particular hazard. The known distribution of certainly identified speci- 
mens is confined to an area extending for 150 km from west to east and for 
64 km from north to south. If other unconfirmed sight records are included 
the range is extended 3 20 km to the west and 1 8 5 km to the south. 

Table i 
Details of the seven known specimens of Francolinus harwoodi. 

a b c d e f g 



nr. Bichana 

Kalo Ford 

Jemmu River 



Jemmu River 

Jemmu Rr 


10° 13' N, 

io° 26' N, 

9° 54' N, 

9° 58' N, 

9° 58' 


9° 58' N, 

9° 58' N, 

39 18' E 

38 16' E 

37° 57' E 

3 8°55'E 

38° 55' 


38° 55 'E 

3 8°55'E 

Altitude (m) 












20. ii. 1 977 




Age/ Sex 


1 y<S 






Wing (mm)* 








Tail (mm)* 








Tarsus (mm)* 








Culmen (mm)* 

' 3° 







Weight (g) 




545 -o 











lower bright 

lower bright 

see Fig. i 

see Fig. 


see Fig. i 

see Fig. i 











C & S 1935 

C & S 1935 





Sped men % 








Cat. No. 



1934. 12. 16.67 





Notes : 

* to obtain consistent museum measurements specimens a, b, and c were measured by P. R. Colston at the British Museum 

and c, f, and g by G. E. Watson at the Smithsonian Institution; my measurements in the flesh were 2-3 mm longer 

so that the wing of d, would be nearer 159. The measurements for tail, tarsus and culmen were made similarly, (b has 

no tail.) 
t C & S = Cheesman and Sclater (1935). 
X indicates location of specimens. BM= British Museum of Natural History, Tring; SI= National Museum of Natural 

History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Ethiopia=this bird had to be left in a freezer, now at the Central 

Laboratory in Addis Ababa, and its ultimate fate is uncertain. 

55 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Acknowledgements: I am most grateful to Dr. George E. Watson for his comments on this 
paper and to him, P. R. Colston and Dr. T. R. Howell for measuring specimens. I thank 
my wife, Mrs. J. W. Ash, and Dr. C. R. Gunn, who identified the items of food, and also 
Dr. J. F. Monk for his customarily critical and welcome editorial pen. Some of the observa- 
tions were made during the course of work supported in part by the Bureau of Medicine 
and Surgery and the Office of Naval Research under Contract N00014-67-A-0399-0009. 

References : 

Cheesman, R. E. & Sclater, W. L. 1935. On a collection of birds from northwestern 

Abyssinia. Ibis Series 13(5): 151-191. 
Hall, B. P. 1963. The Francolins, a study in speciation. Bull. Brit. Mus. {Nat. Hist.) Zool. 

10(2): 107-204. 
Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1962. A study of the rare birds of Africa. Bull. Brit. Mus. {Nat. 

Hist.) Zool. 8(7): 313-378. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1952. Birds of Eastern and North Eastern 

Africa. Longmans: London. 
Ogilvie-Grant, W. R. 1900. Francolinus harwoodi, sp. n. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 10: 22-23. 
Ogilvie-Grant, W. R. & Lovat, Lord. 1900. On the birds collected during an expedition 

through Somaliland and southern Abyssinia on the Blue Nile, Part 2. Ibis Series 

22(7): 304-337. 
Tyler, L. & Tyler, S. J. 1975. Recent bird records— for January. Eth. Wildlf. N. H. S. 

Newsletter 94:5. 


While the above was in proof, I received from M. A. Traylor and D. E. Willard a list 
of specimens taken by Fuertes and Osgood in Ethiopia, now in the collection of the Field 
Museum of Natural History, Chicago. Included are 4 Francolinus barwoodi, apparently all 
adults, from the Muger River valley ati5i5-i757moni2 February 1927. The catalogue 
numbers for the 3 males and one female are 68985, 68986, 75363 and 75364 respectively. 
From the account of the expedition the collecting site must have been at 9°28'N, 38°36'E, 
which is 67 km southwest of the Jemmu site and 87 km southeast of the Kalo Ford. The 
distribution of certainly identified specimens now extends for 150 km from west to east 
and for 108 km from north to south. 

Address: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. 
20560, U.S.A. 

Description, moult and measurements of 

Montifringilla theresae 
by Brian Wood, S. C. Madge, and C. S. Waller 

Received 17 November 1977 
Probably due to its remarkably circumscribed range (Vaurie 1959, Vasic 
1974), knowledge of Theresa's Snow Finch Montifringilla theresae is incom- 
plete and based on only a few casual records (Meinertzhagen 1937, Paludan 
1959, Dementiev 1963, Niethammer 1967). Therefore it seems worth re- 
cording observations of this species made during the Oxford University 
Ornithological Expedition to Afghanistan and Kashmir 1970, although 
these also are fragmentary. 

During late July we encountered small flocks of Theresa's Snow Finches 
in undulating and arid country between the Nil Kotal and Band-i-Amir in 
central Afghanistan. They were particularly common in the valley at Band- 
i-Amir (67 12' N, 34 50' E) usually feeding in parties on the lower scree 
slopes below cliffs flanking the valley. Although Common Snow Finches 
Montifringilla nivalis also occurred here, the two species only occasionally 
formed mixed flocks, and M. nivalis was more usually encountered in rockier 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 56 

Between 4 and 12 August 1970 we mist-netted 41 Theresa's Snow Finches 
by a small stream flowing into the Band-i-Amir lakes, where they came to 
drink and bathe, along with many Common Snow Finches, Crimson- winged 
Finches Rhodopechys sanguinea, Desert Finches Rhodopechys obsoleta and 
Horned larks Eremophila alpestris. All Theresa's Snow Finches were weighed 
to the nearest gram on a Pesola balance, measured and details of plumage 
and moult noted before being ringed (with rings supplied by the Bombay 
Natural History Society) and released. Three of these were subsequently 
recaptured during the same 8 -day period. 

Whilst our sample undoubtedly contained adult males, females and birds 
of the year, without an adequate reference description to guide us we were 
unable to age and sex each bird caught. The details noted enabled some 
birds to be sexed, however, by comparison with details of birds sexed later 
by dissection. Weights and wing lengths (Fig. 1) are compared with published 
figures. A wide range of weights is apparent, our's being mostly lower than 
those of birds caught in Turcomania during the winter (Dementiev 1963), 
but many also are less than those of breeding Theresa's Snow Finches from 
the Unai pass in Afghanistan (Niethammer 1967). Wing lengths are also 
diverse, but appear to correlate with sexual difference, males being the larger, 
confirmed by differences in colouration of plumage and soft parts. 

A full description was taken of the first Theresa's Snow Finch that we 
caught, and is recorded here as previous descriptions are incomplete and 
appear to be based on dead specimens (Meinertzhagen 1937, Dementiev & 
Gladkov 1954, Dementiev 1963): — 

Wing 88 mm. Weight 22 gm. Bill from skull 15 mm, from feather edge 12 mm. Nostril 
width 6 mm. Tarsus 19-5 mm. Wing formula: Wing point = 3rd primary; 2nd, % mm less; 
4th, 4 mm less; 5th, 11 mm less, remainder in moult. First primary minute, much shorter 
than coverts. Tail: 3rd, 4th and 5th retrices longest (numbered centrifugally), outermost 
(6th) 4- 5 mm less, central (1st) 4-5 mm less, 2nd, 2 mm less. 

Upper mandible grey-brown horn, slightly yellower on ridge. Lower mandible yellow, 
brownish-blue horn at tip. Iris brown. Legs and feet blackish. Crown, nape, mantle and 
upper back buff. Scapulars with blackish-brown mark on lower half of outer webs. Upper 
tail coverts buff-grey. 

Primaries blackish-grey. 2nd, 3rd and 4th primaries with faint white outer margin, most 
noticeable on 2nd; also faint white mottling on inner web below primary coverts. 5th to 
10th primaries with white outer margin and white mark on inner web below primary 
coverts. Primary coverts and alula blackish with brownish margins. Secondary coverts 
buff-brown with buff-white margins. Tertials blackish-brown with buff-white margins. 
Inner web of median coverts off-white with buff margin, outer web brown with buff margin. 
Lesser coverts grey with buff margins. 12 retrices, mainly blackish-grey. Outer retrices 
with white outer margin, black shaft and the inner web with large white patch at tip. 
Penultimate retrices white, streaked grey on outer margin and a black spot at tip with white 

Judging by its wing length this bird was a female. Its bill colour, grey 
upper and yellow lower mandibles, is also characteristic of the bill colour of 
females of other species of Monti fringilla. 

Whilst descriptions were not taken of the other Theresa's Snow Finches 
caught, some characteristics of a few birds were noted. Thus, two birds were 
noted as possessing the "black mask" characteristic of adult males of this 
species, two had the iris brick-red and several were recorded as having an all 
dark grey bill, rather than the "two-toned" bill of the bird described above 
(see Fig. 1). Birds with all dark grey bills and those with "two-toned" bills j 
occupy opposite halves of the range of wing length recorded, corresponding 


{Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 
























« 25 






"" 24 

• O 





































Figure 1. Weights and wing-lengths of Montifringilla theresae caught at Band-i-Amir, 
Afghanistan, compared with published data. 

Band-i-Amir data: solid symbols = birds with all dark grey bill; half-shaded symbols 
Q= birds with grey upper mandible and yellow lower mandible; open symbols 0=bill 
colour not noted. Stars -jfc-= birds with 'black mask'; Large circles = birds with brick 
red iris. 

Published data: solid symbols M = males; open symbols □= females. 
Sources: A, Meinertzhagen 1937; wing length of 5 males and 2 females 

B, Dementi ev & Gladkov 1954; wing length of 1 male and 1 female 

C, Dementiev 1963 ; wing length of 8 males and 2 females, weight of 7 males and 
1 female 

D, Niethammer 1967; weight of 7 males and 4 females 

closely to previously recorded ranges of wing length of males and females 
respectively. Birds having a "black mask" and those with a brick-red iris 
also fit the male wing length range. Thus an all dark grey bill and a brick-red 
iris appear to be male characteristics, apparently previously undescribed for 
this species, but possibly confined to adult birds. However, one of us (CSW) 
possesses a colour slide of a bird in female or juvenile plumage which appears 
to have a brick-red iris, so this characteristic may prove unreliable for sexing. 
Birds which were evidently adult males also showed more white on the 
wing, both on remiges and median coverts, especially in flight. In females 
and juveniles the white was dull and appeared dirty in comparison. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 58 


Measurements (mm), weights (gm) and moult scores of Theresa's Snow Finches Monti- 

fringilla theresae caught at Band-i-Amir, Afghanistan. 

Wing length Weight Primary Moult scores {as a %)f Contour 

Secondary Tertial Tail moult* 

88 1 






8 7 - 5 2 





9 o-5 3 






«9 4 



88-5 5 

































J 7 










































































































































I 9 - 5 














23- 5 
















2 7 '5 













Notes. * Contour moult: 0= feathers all old; 

x= moult 

starting; xx = 

= heavy moult; 

— indi-l 

cates data not available. 

f Moult of remiges and retrices was recorded according to the method recommended byi 

the British Trust for Ornithology (Snow 1967), but scores are here presented as a percent-; 

age of maximum possible score (= completed moult). 

1 Bill 15, tarsus 19*5, tail 48 mm. 

2 Bill 16, tarsus 20*5, tail 44 mm. 

3 Bill 15*5, tarsus 19* 5, tail 48-5 mm. 

4 Bill 18, tarsus 20*00, tail 47 mm. 

6 Bill 16 mm. 

Almost all the Theresa's Snow Finches were in active wing, tail and bod] 
moult. Moult scores for each of these three groups of feathers are given ii 
Table 1. Whilst the restricted duration of our observations can provide n( 

59 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

information on length of moult in this species, other details are apparent. 
The sequence of moult appears to be normal for a passerine. Primary moult 
occurs first, with secondary, tertial and tail moult starting when primary 
moult is 3o%-4o% completed. Both adult and first year birds appear to 
undergo a complete moult in the autumn, as in the Common Snow Finch, 
and the timing of moult of both Theresa's and Common Snow Finches at 
this locality appears to coincide almost exactly (Table 2), indicating the same 
response to closely similar ecological requirements. 


Moult scores of Common Snow Finches Montifringilla nivalis caught at Band-i-Amir, 

Afghanistan. (Conventions as in Table 1.) 

Moult scores {as a %) Contour moult 

Primary Secondary Tertial Tail 












































Acknowledgements: The Oxford University Ornithological Expedition to Afghanistan and 
Kashmir 1970 was financially supported by numerous organisations and individuals. We 
wish to express our thanks to all of these. 

References : 

Dementiev, G. 1963. Theresa's Ground Finch Montifringilla therease. Ibis 105: 107. 

Dementiev, G. P. & Gladkov, N. A. 1954. Birds of the Soviet Union. Translation, Jerusalem 

Meinertzhagen, R. 1937. Description of two new birds. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 58: 10. 
Niethammer, G. 1967. On the breeding biology of Montifringilla theresae. Ibis 109: 11 7-1 18. 
Paludan, K. 1959. On the birds of Afghanistan. Vidensk. Medd. Dansk naturh. For. 122: 

Snow, D. W. 1967. A guide to moult in British birds. British Trust for Ornithology Field 

Guide no. 1 1 . 
Vasic, V. F. 1974. Observations ornithologiques en Afghanistan. Alauda 42: 259-280. 
Vaurie, C. 1959. The Birds of the Palearctic Fauna, Pas serif ormes. Witherby: London. 

Addresses: Brian Wood, Zoology Department, University College London, Gower Street, 
London, WCiN 6BT, England. 

S. C. Madge: RSPB, 2 Springholme, Caudle Hill, Fairburn, Knottingley, West 
Yorkshire, England. 

C. S. Waller, Nature Conservancy Council, East Lodge, Sotterly, Beccles, 
Suffolk, England. 

Notes on the biology and systematics of Polynesian 
swiftlets, Aerodramus 

by D. T. Holyoak & J.-C. Thibault 

Received ij November iyjy 
Swiftlets of the genus Aerodramus (formerly placed in Collocalia, but see 
Brooke 1972, Medway & Pye 1977) are widespread in the tropical Pacific 
Ocean from Australia and New Guinea east to the Cook, Society and 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 60 

Marquesas Islands. Some of the larger islands of the southwest Pacific have 
two or three coexisting species, but only one species occurs on each island 
from Fiji east to the Marquesas. No other Apodidae breed on islands in the 
central Pacific and the only swallow (Hirundinidae) is Hirundo tahitica which 
breeds from Australia east to Tahiti. 

Mayr (1937) describes the slight differences in morphology and coloration 
which separate some sympatric species of Aerodramus, and the consequent 
difficulties in judging affinities of allopatric populations which show small 
but constant differences from each other. Simms (1961) and Medway (1966, 
1975) have since improved our taxonomic understanding of swiftlets by 
showing that the type of nest built and the ability or inability to echolocate 
may be useful in judging affinities. This paper discusses the swiftlets of 
southeast Polynesia from Tahiti, Atiu and the Marquesas Islands. They are 
more similar to each other in morphology than any one of them is to forms 
occurring further west in the Pacific. Atiu (20 00' S, 1 5 8° 07' W) is about 750 
nautical miles WSW of Tahiti and Moorea (17 40' S, 149 05' W), and 1260 
nautical miles southwest of the nearest of the Marquesas Islands (9 23' S, 
140 06' W), whereas Tahiti is only about 630 miles southwest of the 

Mayr (1937) pointed out that the swiftlets of Tahiti ('C. I. leucophaea) and 
the Marquesas Islands ('C /. ocista') agree in being rather large and dull 
coloured, with little or no trace of the pale supraloral spots found in some 
related species. They also have rather long tails and a distinctive soft texture 
to the plumage, although the texture is difficult to detect in old museum 
skins. A swiftlet discovered on Atiu in the southern Cook Islands in 1973 and 
given the name Collocalia sawtelli, has similar features (Holyoak 1974a). These 
features set the swiftlets of southeast Polynesia somewhat apart from the rest 
of the genus, but they appear to be closer to those of A. vanikorensis than of 
other Melanesian species. 

duPont (1976: 106) synonymized sawtelli with leucophaea, stating that it is 
"Morphologically indistinct (specimens examined) but alleged to differ from 
C. I. leucocephala (sic) by echo locating". However, he could only have seen 
one specimen of sawtelli, a paratype lodged at the British Museum (Natural 
History), while the only comparative material available there consists of two 
old and faded specimens of A. leucophaeus. The differences between A. 
sawtelli (8 specimens examined), A. leucophaeus (12 specimens) and A. ocistus 
(92 specimens) in morphology and nest structure are summarized below. 


Fully-grown birds of all populations of the A. leucophaeus group have 
predominantly blackish-brown upperparts with slightly paler underparts and 
a small light patch on the longer uppertail-coverts where light grey-brown 
feather bases are partly exposed. The pale patch is least conspicuous because 
the feather bases are darkest in birds from Tahiti and most conspicuous in 
those from Atiu, Marquesan birds being variable but usually intermediate. In 
fresh plumage there is a slight green gloss on the dark feathers of the upper- 
parts and wing-coverts, but this disappears in old specimens, which become 
lighter and browner. Tahiti birds are lighter and browner than those from the 
Marquesas Islands, to judge from comparison of 50 year old skins of both, 
and the Marquesan specimens appear slightly lighter than three year old skins 

6 1 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

from Atiu. The underparts of Atiu birds appear to be slightly but consistently 
lighter than in the other populations. To judge from museum skins, the feet 
and especially the claws have little dark pigmentation in Tahiti birds, more 
in Marquesan birds and most in Atiu birds. 

Table i 
Measurements (mm) of wing and tail length in Polynesian swiftlets. There is little if any 

sexual dimorphism in size. 


X wing 

X tail 

X wing 














Marquesas Is. : 




(s = i-73) 




Nuku Hiva 


(s=i-8 9 ) 




Ua Huka 


121 -6 



Ua Pou 


(s=i- 5 6) 




Hiva Oa 



(s=i-8 9 ) 






62-3 % 


A = mean. s = standard deviation. 

Table I gives measurements of wing and tail length in each of the Poly- 
nesian swiftlet populations. Wing-length was measured by flattening the 
wing and straightening the primaries, tail-length was measured from between 
the bases of the central pair of rectrices. Tahiti birds are rather large with a 
relatively short tail, Atiu birds are small with a short tail and Marquesan 
birds are variable in size, but mostly rather large, and have relatively long 
tails. These differences in proportions may be related to differences in feeding 
behaviour. The short-tailed swiftlets of Tahiti differ from the others in tend- 
ing to feed mainly above the forest, although they sometimes descend to feed 
amongst the forest canopy. In contrast, Atiu and Marquesan swiftlets more 
often feed by flying slowly among the twigs and branches of the forest edge 
and canopy (Holyoak & Thibault, in prep), so their higher tail/wing ratio 
may confer greater manoeuvrability when feeding in this way. That the Tahiti 
swiftlet tends to feed higher than the other swiftlet species may be associated 
with the presence of Hirundo tahitica on Tahiti but not on the other islands. 
H. tahitica mainly feeds close to the forest canopy or edge or over water and 
it has a much longer tail than any of the swiftlets. Further, flycatchers which 
catch prey on the wing are absent from southeast Polynesia and this may be 
associated with the fact that most Aerodramus and the Hirundo of the region 
commonly feed very close to forest trees. Samoa and Fiji do have flycatchers 
which catch prey on the wing (e.g. Myiagra spp.) but the swiftlets there 
{A. spodiopjgius subspp.) habitually feed at some height above the ground and 
rarely enter the forest edge or canopy, and the Fijian populations of Hirundo 
tahitica differ from the Tahiti population in infrequently feeding amongst the 
forest canopy or at the edge. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 62 

The structure of the bill varies between different swiftlet populations in 
southeast Polynesia. In Tahiti birds the maxilla is heavy with a short hook 
and it is not abruptly attenuated towards the tip. In Atiu birds it is weaker 
with a rather long hook and abrupt attenuation distally. Marquesan birds are 
intermediate between those of Atiu and Tahiti. 

The Atiu swiftlet appears closer to the Marquesan swiftlets in coloration 
and various morphological features than it does to the Tahiti swiftlet, 
although it resembles the latter in having a relatively short tail. 

Nests and nest sites 

Unfortunately, very little information is available on the nests and nest 
sites of the Tahiti swiftlet. Wilson (1907) reported seeing nests on a rocky 
crag, and Quayle (MS., in Holyoak 1974b) saw nests made of moss in a 
shallow depression in a rocky crag. It is uncertain whether this Tahiti 
swiftlet, which is now considerably reduced in numbers, has the ability to 
echolocate, although echolocation would be unnecessary in the nest sites 
that have been described. The absence of native hawks and owls from 
southeast Polynesia may have allowed swiftlets there to nest more openly 
than the native hawks present on islands of the southwest Pacific would 
allow; and the introduction of the Indian Mynah Acridotheres tristis to the 
Society Islands and Hiva Oa might have been at least partly responsible for 
the decrease of swiftlets there. 

Marquesan swiftlets nest in colonies of from two or three to a hundred or 
more nests in very varied sites. Some are in shallow depressions under over- 
hanging rock crags or sea cliffs, others are in shallow caves and others are in 
deep caves. The more open sites receive full illumination, others are partly 
illuminated and some colonies in true caves receive no light at all. Holyoak 
(1974a) thought that Marquesan swiftlets do not echolocate, but recent 
studies have shown that in deep caves flying birds utter series of distinctive 
rattling clicks which are quite different from the calls used outside caves, and 
which almost certainly function in echolocation (cf. Griffin & Suthers 1970). 

The nests of Marquesan swiftlets are substantial cup-shaped structures 
built mainly of pleurocarpous mosses collected from trees, sometimes with 
the addition of small amounts of lichen and fibres of higher plants (Fig. 1). 
The nest materials are cemented together with small quantities of sticky 
transparent saliva and the mossy cup often contains a variable number of 
swiftlet feathers. The nests are normally stuck to vertical or slightly overhang- 
ing rock, even though small ledges are often present close by. 

The Atiu swiftlet nests only in deep caves in the uplifted coral limestone 
of the makatea region of the island. A colony visited in the Anataketake Cave 
in September 1973 contained c. 60 nests and local people reported that 
there were a few smaller colonies in similar caves elsewhere on the island. 
Some nests received a little light from the cave entrance, but most were in 
complete darkness. Distinctive rattling clicks were given continually by birds 
flying in dark parts of the cave, but these were not heard outside. There can 
be little doubt that these clicks function in echolocation. 

The nests of Atiu swiftlets were found only on small ledges high up in the 
cave. They were shallow cup-shaped structures woven from plant fibres, 
lichens or both, that were cemented together with quantities of sticky 
transparent saliva (Fig. 2). Some of the 20 nests inspected were so flimsy 

6 3 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Figure 1 (Left). Nest of Aerodramus {leucophaeus) ocistus collected on Ua Pou, Marquesas 
Islands, October 1975; specimen in Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). \ natural size. Drawn by 
Mrs. Linda Whitehouse. 

Figure 2 (Right). Nest of Aerodramus {leucophaeus) sawtelli collected on Atiu, southern Cook 
Islands, September 1973; specimen in Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). \ natural size. Drawn by 
Mrs. Linda Whitehouse. 

that the egg rested on bare rock within the cup and in most nests there was 
only a thin layer of plant fibres beneath the egg. Moss and feathers were 
absent from all the nests inspected. 

Eggs of the Atiu swiftlet are apparently smaller than those of Marquesan 
swiftlets in conformity with the smaller size of adult birds from Atiu. Four 
eggs from Atiu measure 17-4X12-6, 17-9 x 1 2 • 7, 18-1x12-6, and 1 8 • o x 
12-8 mm, whereas one from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands measures 
21 -8 X 12- 5 mm. 


It is difficult to decide on the best taxonomic treatment for the Aerodramus 
of southeast Polynesia. They are all rather similar in morphology and colora- 
tion, but the nests of at least Atiu and Marquesan birds differ considerably. 
Medway (1975) uses similarities of nest structure as an argument for treating 
various Melanesian swiftlet populations as subspecies of A. vanikorensis ^ on 
the grounds that similarities in nest structure reflect similarities in genetically 
controlled behaviour patterns and in the cement-producing salivary glands. 
The different nests built by Atiu and Marquesan swiftlets may corresponding- 
ly imply that there are genetical differences in ncst-building behaviour, but 
there is no evidence for differences in the salivary glands. 

Mayr (1937) had earlier argued that certain swiftlet populations of gener- 
ally similar appearance to A. vanikorensis should be treated as separate species 
merely because nearly all the other landbirds having similarly wide geograph- 
ical ranges in the western Pacific Ocean were divided into several species. 
However, in advocating the merging of these populations into one species 
Medway (1975) pointed out that Halcyon chloris, for example, has as wide a 
range itself as the enlarged A. vanikorensis group. On the other hand nearly 
all the widespread land bird genera occurring on Atiu, Tahiti and in the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 64 

Marquesas Islands are represented by separate species in these three archi- 
pelagos. Halcyon for example, is represented by H. tuta on Atiu, H. venerata 
and a very small population of H. tuta on Tahiti and H. godeffrqyi in the 
Marquesas Islands. However, the usefulness of general faunistic arguments 
of this kind in deciding particular cases is uncertain and it can easily lead to 
circular reasoning. 

Gene-flow between the isolated swiftlet populations of Atiu, Tahiti and 
the Marquesas Islands is probably extremely infrequent, so that the question 
of species' taxonomic limits among them seems an artificial problem; 
moreover, the occurrence of sympatry of any of these three forms is re- 
motely improbable so that the question will anyway remain unanswerable. 
The most useful classification may therefore be one which expresses the 
above uncertainty, as follows : 

A. {Jeucophaeus) sawtelli (Holyoak) Southern Cook Islands: Atiu; 
A. {Jeucophaeus) leucophaeus (Peale) Society Islands: Tahiti; the small 
swiftlet population on Moorea and those formerly in the Leeward 
Society Islands (Thibault 1974) were presumably of this form; 
A. {leucophaeus) ocistus (Oberholser) Marquesas Islands: Eiao, Nuku 
Hiva, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Tahuata, Mohotani. 
The use of a specific epiphet placed in parentheses in this way was advo- 
cated 30 years ago by KirJakofF (1948) for identifying closely related and 
often sympatric species, forming a group for which he coined the name 
'ultra-species'. We prefer to restrict usage of such a system of brackets to 
closely related forms that represent each other geographically and with which 
the determination of species' taxonomic limits is little better than guesswork 
on present evidence. 

Amadon (1966) advocated the use of a specific epiphet in square brackets 
to identify particular species as components of superspecies and a specific 
epiphet in parentheses to identify semispecies, which he defined as forms 
believed to be subspecies, 'but approaching, or possibly of, species status . . .'. 
Cain (1971) among others has pointed out the limitations and uncertainties 
inherent in the application of the superspecies concept and we do not wish 
to indicate that the three swiftlets listed above form a superspecies. 

Treating all three Polynesian swiftlets in this way rather than as subspecies 
of A. leucophaeus should have the desirable effect of encouraging future 
workers to present biological information separately for each group of 

Acknowledgements : We are grateful to Linda Whitehouse for drawing the Figures and to 
John Bull for assistance in arranging photography at the American Museum of Natural 
History. The authorities of the A.M.N. H., British Museum (Natural History) and Museum 
National d'Histoire Naturelle kindly allowed access to specimens in their care. D.T.H. 
wishes to thank the Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund of the A.M.N.H., the International 
Council for Bird Preservation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Winston Churchill 
Memorial Trust for funding, and J.-C.T. wishes to thank the International Council for 
Bird Preservation and the Academie des Sciences (Paris) for financial support. We are grate- 
ful to Lord Medway for helpful comments on our manuscript. 

References : 

Amadon, D. 1966. The superspecies concept. Syst. Zool. 15: 245-249. 
Brooke, R. K. 1972. Generic limits in old world Apodidae and Hirundinidae. Bull. Brit. 
Orn. CI. 92: 52-57. 

6 5 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

Cain, A. J. 1971. Special review of An Atlas of Speciation of 'African Passerine Birds, by Hall, 

B. P. & Moreau, R. E., 1970. Ibis 113: 379-380. 
du Pont, J. 1976. South Pacific Birds. Delaware Mus. Nat. Hist., Monograph Ser. no. 3. 

Greeneville, Del. 
Griffin, D. R. & Suthers, R. A. 1970. Sensitivity of echo location in cave swiftlets. Biol. 

Bull. 139: 495-501. 
Holyoak, D. T. 1974a. Undescribed land birds from the Cook Islands, Pacific Ocean. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 94: 145-150. 
Holyoak, D. T. 1974b. Les oiseaux des iles de la Societe. Oiseau, R.F.O. 44: 1-27, 153-184. 
Holyoak, D. T. & Thibault, J. C. in prep. L'Avifaune de Polynesie orientale. 
Kiriakoff, S. G. 1948. On the so-called 'lower' taxonomic categories. Lepidopterist's News 

2: 3"4- 
Mayr, E. 1937. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. XXXIII. Notes 

on New Guinea Birds I. Amer. Mus. Novit. 915 : 1-19. 
Medway, Lord 1966. Field characters as a guide to the specific relations of swiftlets. Proc. 

Linn. Soc. London 177: 1 51-172. 
— 1975' The nest of Collocalia v. vanikorensis and taxonomic implications. Emu 75 : 154- 


Medway, Lord & Pye, J. D. 1977. Echolocation and systematics of swiftlets. /«, B. Stone- 
house & C. M. Perrins (eds.). Evolutionary Ecology. London: MacMillan. 

Simms, R. W. 1961. The identification of Malaysian species of swiftlets Collocalia. Ibis 
103a: 205-210. 

Thibault, J.-C. 1974. Le peuplement avien des iles de la Societe. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. et 
Hautes Etudes. Antenne de Tahiti, Papeete. 

Wilson, S. B. 1907. Notes on birds of Tahiti and the Society Group. Ibis 9th ser. (3): 

Addresses: D. T. Holyoak, Department of Geography, University of Reading, No. 2 Earley 
Gate, Whiteknights Road, Reading RG6 2AU, England. 
J.-C. Thibault, 15 rue Daubenton, 75005 Paris, France. 

Bird skins from Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) 
in the Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool 

by P. J. Morgan, C. W. Benson and F. M. Benson 

Received j November 1977 

Benson & Benson (1977 : 220-222), in notes on collections of bird specimens, 
in fact skins, from Malawi, give a total of c. 7,500 in the British Museum 
(Natural History) (BMNH) out of c. 1 6,000 in the world as a whole. They 
add that the only other museum in the United Kingdom holding any number 
of specimens is the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge (UMZC), 
which obtained a share of a collection made by C. B. C. Storey in 1907, that 
is precisely 41 in the BMNH and 31 in the UMZC (Benson & Benson, 
Arnoldia, Rhodesia 7(32), 1975 : 3). 

As a result of an informal meeting of ornithologists with an African 
interest at the Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool (LIVCM) on 17 and 
18 September 1977 ('The African Chat'), attended by all three of us, it 
became apparent that there was a very appreciable representation of material 
from Malawi in this museum, emanating from A. Whyte and Sir Alfred 
Sharpe. The Whyte material was included in Canon H. B. Tristram's first 
collection, purchased in 1896, while the Sharpe material was presented by 
Sir Alfred himself in 1903. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 66 

Whyte collected in Malawi in 1 891-1897, under the patronage of Sir Harry- 
Johnston, the first administrator of the territory (see also R. B. Sharpe 
1906: 404, 511). His collections were reported on by G. E. Shelley in a 
series of papers (Ibis, 1 893-1 898). All the specimens traced in the LIVCM 
were collected in 1 892-1 893, at well known localities in southern Malawi, 
the majority at Zomba. They were obviously examined by Shelley, since 
they bear identifications in his handwriting, apart from a few in an unknown 
hand. Clearly they were too late for inclusion in Tristram's printed catalogue 
(1889). However, Tristram continued to maintain manuscript catalogues, 
four out of five of which are in the LIVCM. These have been analysed to 
produce a donor/collector index, cross-references to specimens, specimen 
numbers and collection dates. The records under Whyte's name reveal a 
total of 104 specimens, all bearing Tristram labels and numbers. In fact 
there are at least a further 1 5 2 specimens. These bear only original labels in 
Whyte's handwriting, and labels printed with Sir Harry Johnston's name 
endorsed with Shelley's determination. They must have been kept as 'dupli- 
cates' by Tristram, not for incorporation into his collection, although they 
were included in the sale to the LIVCM some three years after their receipt. 

Particularly notable are the following specimens, all apparently adult, 
which, although not actually type material (in the BMNH, cf. Warren 
1966, Warren & Harrison 1971), were collected at about the same time: — 

Aplopelia larvata Johns toni Shelley (Ibis, 1893: 28), now considered a 
synonym of A. I. larvata: one, undated, .Milanji (Mulanje). 

Lybius torquatus ^ombae (Shelley, Ibis, 1893 : 10): one, Nov. 1892, Zomba. 

Buccanodon whytii whytii (Shelley, Ibis, 1893: 11): one, Nov. 1892, Zomba. 

Andropadus tephrolaema fusciceps (Shelley, Ibis, 1893: 13): one, Sept. 1892, 
Milanji (Mulanje). 

Phyllastrephus cerviniventris Shelley (Ibis, 1894: 10): two, July 1892, one, 
Aug. 1892, Zomba. The July specimens appear to be the first ever collected, 
although not mentioned by Shelley in his description. 

Pogonocichla stellata Johns toni Shelley (Ibis, 1893: 18), now considered a 
synonym of P. s. orientalis: one, Sept. 1892, Milanji (Mulanje). 

Anthreptes longuemarei nyassae Neumann (Orn. Monatsber. 14, 1906: 7): 
one, 6 Jan. 1893, Zomba. Male in full metallic breeding dress. The distinc- 
tiveness of this form was overlooked by Shelley (Ibis, 1893: 17; 1894: 14; 
1898: 379). The holotype was collected as late as 27 July 1897. 

One specimen of Sylvietta whytii whytii Shelley (Ibis, 1894: 13) is listed by 
Tristram as collected in August 1892. It would appear to be a syntype, but 
unfortunately has not been located. It seems that, in addition to the Phyllosco 
pus spp. and Zosteropidae lost in the bombing of the museum in 1941 
(Wagstaffe in press), the majority of the African Sylviinae were also destroyed. 
Another Whyte specimen of interest is an apparent male of Batis soror (not 
?Nolitor), November 1892, Zomba: wing 58, tail 39 mm, cf. Benson & Benson 

Sir Alfred Sharpe succeeded Sir Harry Johnston (R. B. Sharpe 1906: 
476), and collecting continued in his name. It is C.W.B.'s understanding that 
this was left to barely literate Africans, as is suggested by the handwriting 
on the original labels, the same as that on some Sharpe specimens in the 
BMNH. Shelley continued his series of reports, the final one being in Ibis, 
1901: 586-595, dealing with specimens collected from October 1900 to 

67 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

January 1901. The 159 in the LIVCM bear months and years of collecting, 
April 1 90 1 to February 1902, and Shelley's determinations, although it 
seems that he did not consider that publication of a further report was 
warranted. Collecting localities (with the suffix 'B.C.A.', British Central 
Africa, the name Nyasaland not being officially recognised until 1907) are: — 
Buwa (Bua River), Chanda, Chilasulo (Chiradzulu), Chilwa, Malosa, Matiya, 
Mpimbe, Namiwawa, Palombe (Phalombe), S(outh) Angoniland, Ulumba, 
Zomba. All these names are in the gazetteer of localities in Benson & Benson 
(1977), except Matiya and Ulumba, whose locus is uncertain. The remainder 
are all in southern or central Malawi, the most northerly being the Bua 
River. Worth mention are a specimen of Anthus vaalensis from South 
Angoniland, September 1901, and one of A. leucophrys therefrom, August 
1 90 1. There is also a series of seven specimens, from Chiradzulu, Chanda, 
South Angoniland and marked 'Lamprocolius sycobius' {=Lamprotornis 
chalybaeus sycobius), but in fact the smaller L. chloropterus eli^abeth, since they 
have a wing range of 111-120 mm only. 

A perusal of the catalogue of Forbes & Robinson (1898-1901), covering 
only non-passerines, indicates the inclusion of a number of Whyte's speci- 
mens, although his name is not mentioned. The dates and localities — Zomba, 
Upper Shire, Tshiromo (Chiromo), Milanji (Mulanje), Lake Shirwa (Chilwa) 
— tally accordingly. Sharpe's material does not appear in the museum 
register until February 1903, and was too late for inclusion. However 
(pp. 35 et seq.), Forbes & Robinson mention a locality 'Central Africa 
(Kikombo)'. Prior to 1901 Sharpe did receive specimens from 'Kikomba 
(Ikomba)' (sic), in present day northeastern Zambia at 9 09' S, 32 15' E 
(Benson, Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 67, 1946: 37; Benson & Benson 1977: 233). 
This is not to be confused with Kikombo, in central Tanzania at 6° 15' S, 
3 6° 00' E, c. 40 km east-southeast of Dodoma {Times Atlas of the world, 1975). 
In the LIVCM there is a collection from Kikombo made by Dr. S. T. Pruen 
in 1888, received through Canon Tristram in 1896. Many of these specimens 
are listed by Tristram (1889, including Addenda). One of them in particular 
is remotely unlikely to ever occur in northeastern Zambia (nor indeed 
Malawi), Cosmopsarus unicolor, listed on p. 253. The misunderstandings which 
can arise over African collecting localities is alluded to by Benson & Benson 
(1977: 223-224). One further instance is the type-locality 'Myombe, northern 
Nyasaland' for Serinus madars^i (cf. Peters's Checklist of Birds of the World 14, 
1968 : 220), which should read 'Muyombe, north-eastern Zambia', Muyombe 
being at io° 40' S, 33 30' E (Benson et a/., Birds of Zambia, 1971 : 381). 

To conclude, while Benson & Benson (1977: 220) were aware that some 
600 specimens from these early Malawi collections were transferred to the 
South Africa Museum, Cape Town, it was only in September 1977 that this 
important holding in Liverpool came to their notice. It totals at least 415 
specimens (including a precise figure from Sharpe of 159), representing 125 
species. Apart from those already mentioned, certain common species are 
well represented, mostly by Whyte material, thus: — Turdoides jardineii, 18 
specimens; Turdus libonyanus and Tchagra senegala, 23 each; Euplectes capensis, 
20. In the case of the last, all from Whyte, some specimens have surely been 
misdated. There are six males in breeding dress dated July or August, but 
this dress is only known to be worn from about December to May (Benson 
& Benson 1977: 194)- 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 68 

Sincere thanks are due to Michael Brennan, of the Merseyside County 
Museums, who produced the index of the Tristram collection, while em- 
ployed under the Manpower Services Commission Job Creation Programme. 

References : 

Benson, C. W. & Benson, F. M. 1977. The Birds of Malawi. Limbe: D. W. K. Macpherson 

Forbes, H. O. & Robinson, H. C. 1 898-1901. Catalogues of birds in the Derby Museum, 

Liverpool. Bull. Liverpool Mus. 1-3. 
Sharpe, R. B. 1906. The History of the Collections in the Natural History Departments of the 

British Museum. Birds. London : Trustees of the British Museum. 
Tristram, H. B. 1889. Catalogue of a Collection of Birds. Durham: author. 
Wagstaffe, R. in press. Avian types in Merseyside County Museums {formerly City of Liverpool 

Museums). Liverpool: Merseyside County Museums. 
Warren, R. L. M. 1966. Type-specimens of Birds in the British Museum {Natural History) 

1. Non-passerines. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). 
Warren, R. L. M. & Harrison, C. J. O. 1971. Type-specimens of Birds in the British Museum 

{Natural History) 2. Passerines. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural 


Addresses: P. J. Morgan, Merseyside County Museums, William Brown Street, Liverpool 
L3 8EN, England; C. W. and F. M. Benson, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, 
Cambridge CB2 3EJ, England. 

The Basisphenoid notch of Kingfishers 

by P. J. K. Burton 

Received 2j November 19JJ 

The basisphenoid rostrum is a structure of vital importance in a bird's skull. 
From the base of the cranium, this bony bar runs forward along the midline, 
forming the ventral edge of the interorbital septum. It plays a crucial part in 
cranial kinesis (the process by which the upper jaw is raised or lowered 
relative to the cranium), providing a firm bony rail on which the palatines 
and pterygoids may slide backwards or forwards. A full discussion of this 
mechanism is provided by Bock (1964). This short paper draws attention to 
an unusual modification of the basisphenoid rostrum in kingfishers (Alcedin- 
idae) observed in the course of a study of feeding apparatus structure in the 
Coraciiformes and Piciformes (Burton, in prep.). Though a striking feature 
of many kingfisher skulls, it seems to have been generally overlooked, even 
in such studies as those of Shufeldt (1884) and Verheyen (195 5). Because the 
rostrum plays so fundamental a part in kinesis, the presence of this modifica- 
tion immediately raises the question of whether some equally unusual kinetic 
mechanism is involved. This question, and other possible functional inter- 
pretations, are considered in the discussion. 


This feature was first noticed in skulls of Cery/e and Chloroceryle spp. 
(Alcedinidae: Cerylinae), and has subsequently been found in various other 
Alcedinidae. Possible functional equivalents in birds of other orders will be 
considered in the discussion. 

6 9 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

The feature will be termed the basisphenoid notch. It consists, quite simply, 
of a deep and roughly semicircular emargination of the basisphenoid 
rostrum, just posterior to the midpoint of the orbit, and immediately below 
the main fenestra in the interorbital septum (Fig. 1). The rostrum itself has 

Figure 1 . Upper : skull of Pelargopsis amauroptera, to show basisphenoid notch (bn) and 
keel (k). Upper jaw and palate in protracted position. 

Lower : skull of Dacelo gaudichaud, a species lacking the notch. Drawn with palatines and 
pterygoids held away from the rostrum to show its profile clearly. 

The jugal bar has been omitted from both drawings for clarity. Both natural size. 

Figure 2. Profile of the basisphenoid rostrum in various kingfishers possessing a basi- 
sphenoid notch. As the keel cannot normally be fully exposed without damage to the 
specimen, its shape as shown is partly an estimate. Not to scale. Right hand end of profile 
is anterior. 

a — Ceryle alcyon; b — C. maxima; c 
alibis; g — Ceyx erithacus; h 

C. rudis; d — Chloroceryle ama^ona; e — C. inda; f — Alcedo 
Pelargopsis amauroptera; j — Halcyon smyrnensis. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 70 

a distinctive form in kingfishers, with a roughly T-shaped cross section. The 
stem of the T is the rostrum proper — a thin flange of bone along the extreme 
ventral edge of the interorbital septum on which the palatines slide. Above 
it, the bone broadens on either side, as a thickened rim just dorsal to the 
palatines and pterygoids. The notch is confined to the narrow flange, and 
does not intrude into the thickened rim above it. Anterior to the notch, the 
rostrum curves downward, then up again towards the front of the orbit, as a 
roughly keel-shaped plate of bone. In most dried skulls, the junction of 
pterygoid and palatine lies just anterior to the notch and there is strong 
connective tissue attachment between this junction and the keel (or the 
rostrum in unmodified species). Examination of spirit specimens shows that 
with the upper jaw in resting position, the notch lies dorsal to the infundi- 
bular slit and the chamber (antrum tubarum) into which the Eustachian 
tubes open. Connective tissue attached to the rear end of this chamber arises 
at the posterior edge of the notch, and can be seen in dorsal view. 

The notch varies considerably in its form and depth among the Alcedini- 
dae, and is, indeed, absent in many. Fig. 2 shows the range of variation, 
which occurs within, as well as between species. It is present, and strongly 
developed throughout the Cerylinae,* while among the Alcedininae it is 
present in most species, though shallower and relatively longer. Members of 
the Alcedininae found to lack it were Ceyx lepidus and Ispidina picta. The 
Daceloninae present a different picture, for it is absent (or indicated by only 
the slightest concavity) in the majority of species. A striking exception is 
Pelargopsis, in which both the notch and the keel anterior to it are better 
developed even than in the Cerylinae. A well developed notch is also present 
in Halcyon smymensis, and a shallow one in H. pileata, H. coromanda, H. 
leucocephala and H. chelicuti. 

It should be commented at this point, that when considering possible 
kinetic effects, the keel anterior to the notch is the important feature, rather 
than the notch itself. However, the notch is more than simply the end of the 
keel, since its rear border curves down again posteriorly. 

Manipulation experiments 

If a bird's skull is soaked in water for a time, it becomes sufficiently 
pliable to allow the upper jaw and kinetic apparatus to move once again, 
approximating their movements in life. In a kingfisher's skull possessing 
the basisphenoid notch, the fully retracted position may be reached simply 
by pushing the tip of the upper jaw downwards until it stops; movement is 
halted by contact between the upper part of the lateral nasal bar and the 
lacrimal. The pterygo-palatine junction now lies roughly in the deepest part 
of the notch, while the keel-shaped region of the basisphenoid anterior to 
the notch fits into the median trough between the upturned medial flanges 
of right and left palatines. In a skull of Pelargopsis amauroptera it was found 
that retraction could proceed further, until the pterygo-palatine junction was 
in contact with the posterior edge of the notch. 

Even more useful information can be obtained if a fresh specimen is 
available, since the presence of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue 

*Only Ceryle lugubris was unavailable for examination, but there is little reason to suspect 
that it would differ from the rest of the subfamily. 

7 i [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

creates a situation much closer to that in life. The only fresh specimen 
currently available has been one of Alcedo alibis, in which the notch is rela- 
tively shallow, as in other Alcedininae. The results of manipulating this 
specimen agree well with those obtained with skulls, but an interesting effect 
is noted if protraction is brought about by upward pressure on the quadrate, 
via the posterior end of the mandible. At first, there is considerable resistance 
to this pressure; the palatines move forward slowly, and the upper jaw is 
raised slowly. Quite suddenly, the resistance disappears, accompanied by a 
tangible click, the palatine shoots forward, and the upper jaw is rapidly 
and strongly elevated. 


Before considering possible functions of the notch, it is necessary to 
summarise some characteristic features of cranial anatomy in kingfishers; a 
much fuller account will appear in a forthcoming paper (Burton, in prep.). 

Compared with other Coraciiform skulls, those of kingfishers show various 
modifications tending towards the i streckschadel' > (stretched skull) form 
described by Barnikol (1952), though much less extreme than in the examples 
he chose, such as Cjgnus and Phalacrocorax . These modifications include long 
pterygoids, subtending a markedly smaller angle posteriorly than in most 
birds, while the quadrates are sited well posterior to the orbit. Perhaps in 
consequence of the quadrate position, many kingfishers lack M. pseudo- 
temporalis profundus, an adduction/retraction muscle running between the 
quadrate and the mandible. Attachment of a part of M. pterygoideus on the 
maxillo-palatines is another unusual feature seen in many kingfishers, 
though also found in several other Coraciiform and Piciform families. 
However, neither this feature, nor loss of M. pseudotemporalis profundus, 
is correlated with presence of the basisphenoid notch. 

Kingfishers of the subfamilies Cerylinae and Alcedininae have the post- 
orbital ligament much reduced or in some cases apparently absent. It is 
generally better developed in the Daceloninae, including Pelargopsis. This 
may be of some significance when considering possible kinetic functions of 
the notch, since the postorbital ligament is the chief means by which kinetic 
coupling (linked action of upper and lower jaws) is achieved. Poor develop- 
ment of the ligament suggests that many kingfishers rely largely on uncoupled 
kinesis (see Bock (1964) for discussion of these mechanisms). This is less 
suited for rapid actions, but increases the ability to manipulate prey with 
precision — probably an advantage when handling fish. 

Some functional properties of the notch may now be considered : 

1. In Chloroceryle ama^ona and Pelargopsis amauroptera, the shape of the 
notch appreciably affects the movements of the palatines, pterygoids and 
quadrates. As retraction proceeds towards its limits, the pterygo-palatine 
junction rises upwards. Compared with the normal condition this will 
somewhat reduce postero -lateral movement by the pterygoids and quadrates. 
Thus, the notch may somewhat extend the range of retraction possible, or at 
least fill a safety function during extreme retraction. 

However, this is unlikely to be a universal function. Manipulation of 
most other kingfisher skulls shows that the pterygo-palatine junction only 
enters the notch in the extreme retracted position, and shows no tendency 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 72 

to rise at this stage — if anything rather the reverse. The movements of 
pterygoid and palatine are in this case determined only by the form of the 
keel anterior to the notch. 

2. Species in which the palatines and pterygoids can rise into the notch 
would possess a possible further advantage, as this would appreciably 
increase the lumen of the buccal cavity — a potentially valuable action when 
swallowing large fish. Again, however, this capacity seems to be of limited 

3. The effect observed when manipulating a fresh specimen of Alcedo 
atthis is of interest, though strictly related more to the form of the basi- 
sphenoid keel, rather than the notch itself. Pressure on the quadrate, via the 
mandible, roughly duplicates the action of M. protractor during upper jaw 
elevation. The sudden reduction of resistance accompanied by rapid protrac- 
tions appears to occur when the quadrates pass a threshold point in their 
rocking movement on the otic articulation. Before this point is reached, they 
are tending to force the palatines firmly against the basisphenoid rostrum; 
beyond it, they tend to force them away, and movement suddenly proceeds 
much more freely. However, although this effect could probably be repro- 
duced in life, it is far from clear what biological role it would serve. Though 
rapid jaw closure can be useful to birds capturing active prey (see, e.g. 
Bock & Morony 1972), rapid opening seems much less useful, particularly 
in kingfishers, which normally strike the water surface with bills already 

4. A possibility which has to be considered is that the notch acts to lock 
the upper jaw in a retracted position. From an initial examination, this seems 
an attractive idea; it would seem that the pterygo -palatine junction might be 
locked into the notch by upward force, and released by a downward one. 
Beecher (1953)* suggested that a retraction lock would permit a bird to 
'maintain a grip indefinitely with decreased muscular effort', and this would 
certainly be an advantage for kingfishers, which may have to grip their 
slippery and awkward prey for a considerable time, especially when feeding 
young. Nevertheless, I doubt if the basisphenoid notch works in this way 
for the following reasons : 

a. The only muscle which could raise the palatines and pterygoids 
relative to the cranium is M. protractor. However, its force, transmitted 
via the pterygoids, has a large forward component capable of moving the 
kinetic apparatus anteriorly even from the deepest part of the notch. 

b. I doubt the advantages of a retractor lock suggested by Beecher. 
Locking the upper jaw would merely suspend the normal two jaw action of 
birds in favour of a single jaw action as in mammals. The lock cannot put 
force into the system, and the reduced retraction effort would be offset by 
the need for stronger adduction to maintain grip. The only possible advant- 
age might be to stabilize the advantageous jaw configuration attained during 
strong retraction, and perhaps even permit it to be maintained while the 

♦Beecher is referring to the Vanga shrike Schetba rufa. My own examination of this species 
fails to confirm his description of an ectethmoid/jugal locking device. 

73 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(2)] 

lower jaw is depressed. This might be of value when handling or swallowing 
prey, but it has yet to be demonstrated that anything of the kind actually 

5. In species possessing the notch, the upturned medial edges of the 
palatines are relatively deeper than in those without it. This enables them to 
clasp the keel very firmly, providing increased resistance to lateral deflection. 
Possibly this provides protection against forces occurring while swallowing 
large fish, though in some fish eaters, e.g. Phalacrocorax, the palatines do 
not clasp the rostrum at all. However it would seem possible to evolve 
palatines with deeper medial edges even in the absence of a keel, and this 
factor certainly provides no explanation for the notch itself. 

6. The close anatomical relationship between the basisphenoid notch 
and the antrum tubarum suggests some possible functional involvement 
with the Eustachian tubes. What the nature of this might be is unknown. 
Reduction or occlusion of the external nares is a feature of some diving 
birds (see, e.g. Macdonald i960), but I know of no reported modifications 
concerning the Eustachian tubes. Kingfishers enter the water with bills 
open when they dive, and would be unable to equalise pressure changes on 
the middle ear cavity by altering the volume of the buccal cavity; possibly 
a small reservoir of air in the antrum tubarum could in some way be used 
for this purpose. Alternatively, some special modification may have arisen 
in connection with the process of swallowing large fish, when prolonged 
closure of the infundibular slit may be necessary. Unfortunately, too little 
is known at present about the functioning of the infundibular slit and Eusta- 
chian tubes in life to arrive at any clear conclusions. A brief account of 
buccal cavity structure and deglutition is given by Ziswiler & Farner 

To recapitulate and comment so far: the basisphenoid notch is apparently 
capable of influencing kinetic movements in a few species, and this may be of 
some selective value. However, it does not seem to work this way in all 
cases, and I suspect that its primary functions are not related to kinesis. A 
connection with Eustachian tube functioning is a possible alternative deserv- 
ing investigation. 

The distribution of the basisphenoid notch among the three well marked 
subfamilies of kingfishers is also of evolutionary interest. This distribution 
may have arisen in one of two ways : 

(a) The basisphenoid notch may be a feature which arose in the stock 
ancestral to all three subfamilies, but has been secondarily lost by many. 

(b) It may have arisen independently in several lines in response to similar 

I tend to favour the second alternative, since the notch seems to be essen- 
tially a feature of the more highly specialised fish eaters, rather than of more 
primitive forms. If this is correct, it implies some genetic potential for 
evolving the notch which is common to all kingfishers. Situations of this 
type have been discussed by Bock (1963). 

[Bull.B.O.C.i 97 8: 9 %(z)} 74 

The possible occurrence of similar modifications in other groups of birds 
needs to be examined. No notch, or anything like it, is present in other 
families of Coraciiformes or Piciformes — two orders I have examined 
thoroughly in the course of other studies. It can also be assumed to be absent 
in all groups possessing basipterygoid processes, since these arise from the 
basisphenoid rostrum close to the position that a notch would occupy. I 
have examined a wide range of other birds, concentrating on fish eaters and 
birds of prey, but the only possible equivalent seems to be in frigate birds 
(Pelecaniformes ; Fregatidae), which have the basisphenoid rostrum 'stepped' 
upwards a little way posterior to the pterygo -palatine articulation. Some other 
Pelecaniformes (Phaethontidae, Sulidae) have an upward slope in the poster- 
ior part of the basisphenoid rostrum, but nothing of such an abrupt nature 
as in the Fregatidae. (The Pelecanidae have a keel-shaped rostrum, but so 
sharply angled that if the palatines ever moved behind it, they would surely 
be inextricably jammed.) 

Finally, it must be remarked that the discovery of the basisphenoid notch 
highlights the fact that the basisphenoid rostrum has been badly neglected 
in many studies of the avian skull, despite the attention that has been paid to 
the basipterygoid processes. Its crucial role in kinesis deserves a thorough 
and wide ranging study of its morphology and functions. 

Species of kingfishers examined. 

Skulls : Ceryle maxima, C. alcyon, C. rudis, Chloroceryle ama^pna, C. americana, C. inda, Alcedo 
at this, A. meninting, A. cr is tat a, Ispidina picta, Ceyx lepidus, C. aureus, C. rufidorsum, Pelargop- 
sis amauroptera, P. capensis, Dacelo novaeguineae, D. leachii, D. gaudichaud, Cittura cyanotis, 
Halcyon smyrnensis, H. senegalensis, H. macleayii, H. pyrrhopygia, H. sancta, H. chloris, H. 

Spirit specimens of: Ceryle torquata, Chloroceryle inda, C. aenea, Alcedo atthis, Pelargopsis 
capensis, Clytoceyx rex, Melidora macrorrhina, Halcyon coromanda, H. pileata, H. leucocephala, 
H. chelicuti, Tanysiptera galatea. 
Fresh material : Alcedo atthis. 

References : 

Barnikol, A. 1952. Korrelationen in der Ausgestaltung der Schadelform bei Vogeln. 

Gegenbaurs morph. Jb. 92: 373-414. 
Beecher, W. J. 1953. A phytogeny of the oscines. Auk 70: 270-333. 
Bock, W. J. 1963. Evolution and phytogeny in morphologically uniform groups. Am. Nat. 

97: 265-285. 

— 1964. Kinetics of the avian skull./. Morphol. 114: 1-42. 

— & Morony, J. J. 1972. Snap-closing jaw ligaments in flycatchers. Am. Zool. 12: 729- 

Burton, P. J. K. In preparation: Anatomy and evolution of the feeding apparatus in the 

Coraciiformes and Piciformes. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. 
Macdonald, J. D. i960. Secondary external nares of the Gannet. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 135 : 

Shufeldt, R. W. 1884. Osteology of Ceryle alcyon. J. Ant. Physiol. Lond. 18: 279-294. 
Verheyen, R. 1955. Analyse du potentiel morphologique et considerations sur la systema- 

tique des Coraciiformes (Wetmore 1934) (suite). Bull. Inst. Sci. Nat. Belg. 31 (93): 1-19- 
Ziswiler, V. & Farner, D. S. 1972. Digestion and the digestive system. In Farner, D. S. & 

King, J. R. (Eds.): Avian Biology, Vol. II, 343-430. New York and London: Academic 


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A slip with details will be included with the October number oilbis and those wishing to 
attend should send their slip together with cheque and s.a.e. to the B.O.U. {NOT to the 
Club) in accordance with the instructions on the slip. 

Tuesday j December 1978 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Goat Tavern, 3 Stafford Street, 
London, W.i. Mr. J. L. F. Parslow on The function of the R.S.P.B. in British Ornithology. 
Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £2.70 a person together with their 
acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mrs. Diana Bradley, 53 Osterley Road, Isleworth, 
Middlesex to arrive not later than first post on Friday 2 December. 

Tuesday 9 January 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, South 
Side, Imperial College (entrance on the south side of Prince's Gardens, S.W.7, off Exhibi- 
tion Road), Mr. J. H. R. Boswall on Mutual mimics ; men as birds and birds as men — an ornitho- 
logical frolic. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.80 a person together with 
their acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mrs. Diana Bradley, 53 Osterley Road, Isleworth, 
Middlesex, to arrive not later than first post on Thursday 4 January 1979. 

Tuesday 6 March 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m., Mr. J. D. England, O.B.E. on The birds of 
? Seychelles srout of islands. 

j. HViuay o iviarcu 19/9 at 1 
the Seychelles group of islands 


P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) B. Gray 

C. E. Wheeler P. J. Oliver 

C. F. Mann 


75 [Bull. B.O.C. i 97 8: 98(3)] 

Bulletin of the 


Vol. 98 No. 3 Published: 20 September 1978 

Addenda to minutes of Annual General Meeting (omitted in error), Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 
98: 33. 

The Minutes of the eighty-fifth Annual General Meeting {Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 97: 33 & 
xx) were approved and signed. 

The seven hundred and thirteenth Meeting of the Club was held at the Goat Tavern, 3 
Stafford Street, London, W.i. on Monday 17 July 1978 at 7 p.m. 

Chairman: Dr. G. Beven; present 20 members and 9 guests. Mr. M. W. Woodcock spoke 
on The Birds of Oman. 

Resume of talk 'The Birds of Oman' 

Mr. Martin Woodcock spoke on the Birds of Oman, and following some introductory 
remarks, illustrated his talk with slides taken on his two recent extensive field trips. 

He drew attention to the marked dichotomy in relationships shown by the avifauna on 
either side of the belt of desert across Oman around 20 N. The breeding birds of vegetated 
areas in the north and around Muscat are almost entirely of Indian affinity, the common 
species including Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis, House Crow Corpus splendens, Grey 
Francolin Francolinus pondicerianus, Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica, Red-wattled Plover 
Vanellus indicus and Yellow-throated Sparrow Petronia xanthocollis. The House Crow appears 
identical with the pale race ^ugmayeri of Pakistan, and the House Sparrow, which is also 
common, seems to be of the race indicus which occurs throughout India. 

In the south of Oman, the Dhofar, on the other hand, the Ethiopian influence is pre- 
dominant, with such species as Ruppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula, Blackstart Cercomela 
melanura, Cinnamon-breasted Rock Bunting Emberi^a tabapisi, Paradise Flycatcher Terpsi- 
phone viridis, Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala and Bruce's Green Pigeon Treron 

The status of the Silverbill Euodice malabarica is of particular interest. In the north the 
birds resemble the nominate race of India, while in the Dhofar they have a black rump, 
characteristic of the African races of this bird, which Voous (Ibis 119: 386) has recently 
treated as specifically distinct from the Indian race. This seems to underline rather neatly 
the dual character of the avifauna in Oman, and the importance of the desert barrier. 

XIX Century Indian Ocean seabirds eggs in the 
South African Museum 

by R. K. Brooke 

Received 10 January 1978 
Layard (1867a) mentioned that some eggs from the Crozet Islands had come 
into his hands at the South African Museum, Cape Town, and Brooke (1976) 
added that Layard had collected material on Indian Ocean islands while 
travelling on the survey ship H.M.S. Castor in 1856/7. Nearly all the eggs 
Layard mentioned survive, as well as a number of others from the Crozets, 
and some of his Indian Ocean islands eggs. Through the courtesy of Dr. 
T. H. Barry, Director of the South African Museum, I have examined the 
eggs collected in the last century and find that they provide new or confirma- 
tory data. The reliability of the identification of some species where the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 76 

specimens have since disappeared, as in some cases here, can be supported 
by a consideration of the characters, particularly mensural, of the surviving 
eggs. I have particularly relied on the egg mensural data in Serventy et al. 
(1971) and Watson (1975). Layard measured his eggs in inches and lines, 
i.e. twelfths of an inch. Conversion to mm at the rate of 25-4 mm to the 
inch gives results close to those I obtained by measurement but not so close 
that I can confidently say which eggs Layard had measured when he wrote 
his 1867 paper. 

Crozet Islands 

Layard (1867a) states that his material from the Crozet Islands was brought 
by Captain Armson. Since the South African Museum holds or held far more 
material than Layard (1867a) mentioned, more than one journey must have 
been involved. I find from an examination of the Cape of Good Hope Govern- 
ment Gazette shipping notices that the first journey made by Capt. T. Armson 
was in the three masted schooner Guadalquivir of 1 1 2 tons which left Table 
Bay Harbour, Cape Town, on 30 October 1866 and returned with a crew 
of 12 fishermen and a cargo of oil, penguin?, on 8 June 1867. His second 
journey was made in the 135 ton schooner Lifley with 14 fishermen leaving 
Cape Town on 30 November 1867 and returning on 13 June 1868 with a 
cargo of oil. The next year the Lifley was commanded by Capt. R. Jeary who 
returned on 25 May 1869 with the cargo of Eudyptes penguin oil discussed 
by Layard (1869: 378). We may confidently hold that the material Layard 
(1867a) reported was obtained on the first journey and the balance in the 
South African Museum on the second. 

Despin et al. (1972) provide detailed modern data on the ornithology of 
the Crozets against which the material collected by Capt. Armson can be 
assessed, material which was virtually the first from the Crozets to come into 
scientific hands. Despin et al. (1972) often note that Layard did not specify 
which island his skins and eggs came from. It appears from Watson (1975 : 
295) that at least both large islands of the group, Possession and East, were 
visited since eggs of Pachyptila salvini, restricted to Possession Island, and of 
Halobaena caerulea^ restricted to East Island, were obtained. In any case 
nobody in the 1860s thought it very important to specify exactly which 
member of a group of remote islands a particular specimen came from, parti- 
cularly when it might betray an exploitable source to a competitor. 

Aptenodytes patagonicus: of the eggs mentioned by Layard (1867a: 459) 
3 survive and measure no-o x 77-1, 108 -8 X 75 -3 and 106-4 X 73*2 mm. 

Pygoscelis papua: according to Trimen's MS catalogue in the South African 
Museum (see Brooke 1976), there was once a specimen from the Crozets 
but I find no evidence that eggs ever reached Cape Town. 

Eudyptes chrysocome: 3 eggs measure 77-0 x 57-8, 74-6 X 52-2 and 71-0 
X 5 5 • o mm. It may be that Layard was told that they all came from one bird 
(1867a: 460) and that he was rightly sceptical of this story. 

Eudyptes chrysolophus: 3 eggs measure 84-8 X 61-5, 83-4 X 63-9 and 
79 -6 x 63-0 mm and belong to this species which Layard (1867a: 460) 
inadequately distinguished from the preceeding. Layard (1869: 378) pointed 
out that one cargo of penguin oil required the slaughter of 5 1,800 Eudyptes 
penguins in the Crozets. Their present abundance on East Island in the 
Crozets, c. 1 50,000 birds (Despin et al. 1972), shows that penguin populations 

77 [Bull. B.O.C. i 97 8: 98(3)] 

can recover from slaughter when the rest of their environment is untroubled. 

Diomedea exulans: one egg measures 135-2 x 81 -8 mm: Layard (1867a: 
460, 1867b: 363) had several eggs from the Crozets. 

Phoebetria fuscajpalpebrata: both forms breed on the Crozets (Despin et al. 
1972) but Layard, like other workers of that period, did not realise that 2 
species were involved and treated them as one sub nom. P.fuliginosa (1867a: 
458). Berruti (1977) has shown that there is a significant difference in the 
breadths of the eggs of these species: for P.fusca he gives 96-0-110-7 x 
5 9 • 3-68 • 7, av. (67) 103-0 x 65-1 mm and for P. palpebrata he gives 98 • 3- 
106-4 X 62 • 7-70 • o, av. (17) 102 -3 x 66-7. The last century eggs fall into 
two groups : one, of 2 eggs, is labelled Diomedea chlororhynchos (see Layard 
1869: 377), though they do not resemble those of any mollymawk and are 
indistinguishable in shape and pattern from those oi Phoebetria eggs : measur- 
ing 105-3 x 70-9 and 104-9 x 70*0- In view of Berruti's data on the com- 
parative breadth of Phoebetria eggs, these eggs are unequivocally those of 
P. palpebrata. This should put to final rest the belief originating from Layard 
(1869) that D. chlororhynchos breeds on the Crozets. The remaining 3 eggs of 
this genus are not referable to species since they measure 105-8 x 65-7, 
105-1 X 65 • 5 and 99-4 X 66-9 mm. They fit closer with the measurements 
of P. fusca, which is nowadays the commoner species there (Despin et al. 
1972) and are probably referable to that species. All save one egg came from 
the second journey. 

Macronectes giganteusjhalli: both species breed on the Crozets (Despin et al. 
1972) and nobody has yet distinguished their eggs, not even by a significant 
difference in an average (Voisin 1976). The eggs measure 109-4 x 68 -o and 
105 -4 x 69-1 mm, came from both journeys and either might belong to 
either species. 

Pterodroma brevirostris: 4 unidentified eggs from the Crozets, measuring 
58-6 x 42-5, 57-9 X 43 -I > 5^-8 x 43 '6 and 55-4 x 4 J '8 mm, appear all 
to be of the same species. One carries an MS identification 'Blue Aiglette'. 
Since Capt. Armson and his sailors who brought the material to Cape Town 
called the dark brown Phoebetria spp. 'Blue Birds', I take Blue Aiglette to 
refer to the dark brown species Pterodroma brevirostris, rather than to the 
blue-grey and white P. mollis which lays the same sized egg (Serventy et al. 
1 97 1, Watson 1975 : the former gives 55-60 x 44-47 mm for P. brevirostris 
and 58-59 x 42-43 for 3 eggs of P. mollis). Also Despin et al. (1972) found 
P. brevirostris to be a commoner breeding species than P. mollis. 

Pterodroma macroptera: the one egg measures 66-2 x 48-2 mm: Layard 
(1867a: 460) only mentioned skins of adults and nestlings so the egg comes 
from the second journey. 

Pachyptila salvini: Despin et al. (1972: 48) thought that Layard's (1867a: 
460) reference to P. banksi as a breeding species in the Crozets was an error 
for P. salvini. They are correct. The eggs attributed to P. banksi (and P. 
turtur in MS) measure 53-4 X 36-3, 51-4 X 35-6 and 51-3 x 37-8 mm 
which places them among the larger eggs of P. salvini from the Crozets 
(Despin et al. 1972: Tab. XVIII). 

Halobaena caerulea: an unidentified egg measuring 51-7 x 38-5 and in- 
scribed in MS 'Small Mutton Bird' probably belongs to this species on its 
measurements (Serventy et al. 1971, who give 44-54 X 32-40 mm, Watson 
1975). It is a known breeder in the Crozets (Despin et al. 1972). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 78 

Procellaria aequinoctialis : 3 eggs of this species (cf. Layard 1867a: 459) 
measure 80-9 x 54-6,80-6 x 54-8 and 78-7 x 51-0 mm. 

Fregetta tropica: I did not find the eggs mentioned by Layard (1867a: 459). 

Pekcanoides georgicusjexsul: 2 eggs measure 44-3 x 32-4 and 40-9 x 31-1 
mm and following Serventy et al. (1971), who give 35-42 x 27-31 • 5 mm, 
are probably referable to P. exsul. Another tgg which does not look con- 
specific measures 38-5 x 31-5 mm and fits well with the measurements 
Despin */ #/. (1972 : 60) give for P. georgicus. Layard (1 867a : 460) only referred 
to skins of P. urinatrix, i.e. exsul, so the eggs are among the fruits of the 
second journey. 

Phalacrocorax albiventer: Layard (1867a: 460) refers to eggs which I did 
not find. 

Anas eatoni: this is the 'small teal' which Layard (1867a: 460) could not 
identify. Two eggs taken on the second journey measure 53-4 x 38-1 and 
53-0 x 37-8 mm. The museum also holds an egg from Desolation (=Ker- 
guelen) Island taken in 1876 which measures 51-8 X 37-1 mm. This is close 
to the figures in Kidder (1876): 45-7-55-4 x 35-6-38-1, av. (9) 51-8 x 
36-7 mm and compatible with those in Despin et al. (1972: 68). 

Chionis minor: it does not appear that Capt. Armson ever brought back 
further eggs to replace the one attacked by mice (Layard 1867a: 458). 

Catharacta skua lonnbergi: there are 2 eggs of this species with an MS 
determination in the same hand as on all Crozet eggs but, unlike all the 
others, the scribe has not noted their provenance upon them. They measure 
75-1 x 53-0 and 73-0 x 51-9 mm and are very probably those referred to 
by Layard (1867a: 459). 

Larus dominicanus: 6 eggs measure 74-9 X 49-8, 74-3 x 49-8, 72-9 x 
46-2, 72-8 X 51 -i, 71-9 X 48-4 and 70-4 X 51-3 mm. The last egg has 
been placed with C. skua but looks misplaced there. Layard (1867a: 459) 
was uncertain which blackbacked gull bred there. 

Sterna virgatajvittata: Despin et al. (1972: Table XL) show that it is not 
possible to discriminate between the eggs of these 2 terns, which both breed 
on the Crozets. The eggs measure 48-1 x 32-2, 46-8 x 31-9 and 44 • 4 X 
32-0 mm. Layard (1867a: 459) called the species S. meridionahs. 

If Layard had examined and reported all the material he received through 
Capt. Armson from the Crozet Islands, these islands' ornithology would 
have been substantially known much earlier. 

Round Island, Mauritius 

Puffinus pacificus: 7 eggs measure 5 9 • 0-66 • o x 38- 8-41 • 4 mm. 

Puffinus Iherminieri: an unidentified small egg of this genus measures 
47 '3 X 31 -6 mm. Murphy (1936: 688) cites similar measurements for the 
Galapagos race, P. 1. subalaris, (48- 5 X 33-8 and 47-1 x 32-9 mm). Serv- 
enty et al. (1971) give much greater measurements (av. 59 x 43 mm) for the 
other likely candidate, Pterodroma arminjoniana, mentioned by Watson et al. 
(1963). Vinson (1976) gives 55-66 x 40-5-48 mm for 18 modern eggs of 
P. arminjoniana from Round Island. Layard's record provides part of the 
confirmation called for by Watson et al. (1963) for regarding Puffinus Iher- 
minieri as at least a former breeder on Round Island. Temple (1976) thinks 
it may still breed there as well as above the Tamarin River gorge on Mauri- 
tius itself. 

79 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Sterna Jus cat a: 4 eggs measure 54-1 X 36-0, 52-1 X 35-1, 51-7 X 35 '4 
and 50-9 x 36-1 mm. Watson et a/. (1963) and Staub (1973) do not record 
S. fuscata as breeding on Round Island. 

It is apparent from Watson et al. (1963) that H.M.S. Castor on which 
Layard was travelling when he collected these eggs must have visited Round 
Island in November and Brooke (1976) shows that the year must have been 

Sandy Island, Rodriguez 

Anous stolidus: 8 eggs measure 50-2-53-2 x 35 -4-38-7 mm. The eggs 
were collected in November 1856, a deduction from comparing the data on 
breeding season in Watson et al. (1963) and Layard's years of travel in 
Brooke (1976). 

Farquhar Island, Providence 

Phaethon rubrkauda: one egg measures 62-5 x 44- 1 and has a pale ground 
densely spotted with purple as well as having a few small blotches of that 
colour. It has only been identified to genus but in the light of the measure- 
ments given by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1952) (64 X 46 mm as opposed 
to 50 x 37 for P. lepturus and 55X38 for P. indicus) it is clearly referable to 
this species even though it is not recorded here by Watson et al. (1963). 

Sula dactylatra: one egg measures 66-4 x 44*4 mm. 

Sula sula: an egg attributed to S. dactylatra measures 58-8 X 39-1 mm and 
should be placed with S. sula in the light of the measurements given by 
Serventy et al. (1971): 55-66 x 38-43 mm. 

Fregata minor: 2 eggs measure 71-4 X 48-4 and 70-3 x 49 • 7 mm. This is 
the first breeding record from the Providence Islands (Brooke 1976). 

Farquhar Island was visited in October or November 1856 for the reasons 
given under Sandy Island. 

Mr. A. S. Cheke advises (in litt.) that the log of H.M.S. Castor no longer 
survives, so that it is not possible to obtain direct data on when the different 
localities from which material was obtained were visited. An examination of 
the Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette shows that H.M.S. Castor left 
Simonstown, the then British naval base at the Cape, on 10 October 1856 
for Mauritius. It left Durban on 13 March 1857 for Port Elizabeth, which it 
reached on 17 March. It left two days later for Simonstown, which it reached 
on 25 March 1857. The most economical fit of the data in this paper and in 
Brooke (1976) seems to be: Simonstown to 40 20' S, 41 00' E where a few 
wintering seabirds were obtained, followed by a northeasterly tack to 32 
46' S, 59 13' E where more wintering seabirds were obtained at the end of 
October or perhaps the beginning of November. Mauritius and Rodriguez 
to the north were next visited (in which order?) in November when birds 
laying in November had their eggs collected. Although the birds whose 
eggs were collected at Farquhar Island are predominantly October layers, it 
seems that it was not visited until late November after leaving Mauritius 
ind Rodriguez. Thereafter, H.M.S. Castor continued northwest to the coast 
of northern Kenya where many Palaearctic waders in non-breeding plumage 
vere obtained : this would be very feasible in December. It then proceeded 
lown the African coast to at least Cabo Delgado in northern Moazambique 
vhere a nest-building Nectarinia senegalensis was obtained: this could be in 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 80 

December or even January (Mackworth-Praed & Grant 1955). The visit to 
northwest Madagascar presumably came next, in February, before a return 
to the African coast near the mouth of the Zambezi, thereafter proceeding 
southwards, obtaining a few cold water seabirds off southern Mozambique 
in early March 1857, to reach Durban before 13 March 1857. 

Acknowledgements : I am obliged to Prof. W. R. Siegfried and my colleagues A. E. Burger, 
J. Cooper and J. C. Sinclair for useful comments on a draft of this paper. 

References : 

Berruti, A. 1977. Co-existence in the Phoebetria albatrosses at Marion Island. M.Sc. Thesis, 

University of Cape Town. 
Brooke, R. K. 1 976. Layard's extralimital records in his Birds of South Africa and in the 

South African Museum. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 96: 75-80. 
Despin, B., Mougin, J. L. & Segonzac, M. 1972. Oiseaux et mammiferes de Tile de l'Est. 

C.N.F.R.A. 32. 
Kidder, J. H. 1876. Contributions to the natural history of Kerguelen island. Bull. U.S. 

Natn. Mus. 3. 
Layard, E. L. 1867a. On birds and eggs from the Crozette Islands. Ibis pp. 457-461. 

— 1867b. The Birds of South Africa. Cape Town: Juta. 

— 1869. Further notes on South-African ornithology. Ibis pp. 361-378. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1952, 1955. Birds of Eastern and Northeastern 

Africa. Vols. 1 & 2. London: Longmans Green. 
Murphy, R. C. 1936. Oceanic Birds of South America. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan. 
Serventy, D. L., Serventy, V. & Warham, J. 1971: The Handbook of Australian Sea-birds. 

Sydney: Reed. 
Staub, F. 1973. Oiseoux de Tile Maurice. Port Louis: Mauritius Printing. 
Temple, S. A. 1976. Observations on seabirds and shorebirds on Mauritius. Ostrich 47: 

Vinson, J. M. 1976. Notes sur les procellariens de l'lle Ronde. Oiseaux Rev. Franc. Orn. 

46: 1-24. 
Voisin, J. F. 1976. Observations sur les Petrels Geants de l'lle aux Cochons (Archipel 

Crozets). Alauda 44: 411-429. 
Watson, G. E. 1975 : Birds of the Antarctic and Sub- Antarctic. Washington: Amer. Geophysi- 
cal Union. 
Watson, G. E., Zusi, R. L. & Storer, R. W. 1963. Preliminary Field Guide to the Birds of the 

Indian Ocean. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. 

Address: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, 
Rondebosch 7700, R.S.A. 

Some observations of birds in Fah, northeast Eritrea 

by Stephanie J. Tyler 

Received 9 December 19 jj 
K. D. Smith's (1957) annotated checklist of the birds of Eritrea comprehen- 
sively covered the literature up to the end of his own observations in 1954. 
He listed 528 species and commented on the surprisingly large number of 
land Palaearctic migrants in relation to the small size of Eritrea. 

Eritrea became annexed to Ethiopia in 1952 and Smith's data is incorpora- 
ted into Urban & Brown's (1971) checklist of the birds of Ethiopia. Other 
ornithologists, such as Dr. J. S. Ash (1977, in press), Brother E. Johnson, 
C. F. Mann (1971) and J. Boswall (1971) provided more data mostly from the 
coastal areas near Assab and Massawa and from the Dahlak archipelago. 

Between 6 June 1976 and 4 January 1977 the author and family were 
confined in an Eritrean Popular Liberation Front camp in an area known as 
Fah, north of Nacfa in northeast Eritrea, near the junction of the coastal 

8 1 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

plain with the inland escarpment. The camp at Fah was rather below 300 m 
in a broad sandy wadi fringed with scattered trees and bushes, notably 
Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptica, Zi^yphus spina-christi, Salvadora persica and 
Calotropis procera, and more localised clumps of Tamarix. A second wadi 
joining the larger one contained permanent flowing water, partly from a 
series of springs above a small waterfall, below which the small shallow 
river passed through a steep-sided gorge — opening out at one point to form 
a pool with a pebble bank at one edge — and after a further 300 m or so 
disappeared into the sand close to the junction of the two wadis. On either 
side of the wadis were dry, rocky volcanic hills dissected by steep-sided 
rocky gullies. The sparse vegetation on these hills included Acacias such as 
A. rnelliphera, and more trees and shrubs grew along the gullies. The habitats 
in this semi-desert area correspond to K. D. Smith's Type Aic (riparian 
woodland), Type A2 (dry Acacia woodland), Type Bb2 (lowland rivers) 
and Type A4ai and a2 (rocky hills— cliffs and rocks). 

Observations at Fah were necessarily limited; in particular the confiscation 
of my binoculars by the guerillas made identification of birds of prey and 
distant birds difficult or impossible. Many birds must have passed through 
Fah without my having noticed them. My movements were very restricted 
during the daylight hours during which I sat under a tall Acacia tortilis and 
close to clumps of Salvadora. Occasionally it was possible to erect a 20 foot 
mist net in the Salvadora bushes. A walk to the river each evening, a distance 
of about 600 m, and occasional short walks near the A. tortilis, were the 
extent of my movements from 6 June to 8 September, after which the days 
were spent beneath another tree, an A. melliphera, in a gully in the hills about 
500 m from the main wadi. Movements were less restricted then and I could 
walk short distances into the hills. However, leaving the Salvadora bushes by 
the main wadi in early September was unfortunate because most Palaearctic 
passerine migrants were concentrated in their thick cover. In August a pan 
lid filled with water which also caught the drips from a water-filled goat 
skin, proved very attractive to normally skulking species such as Great 
Reed Warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus . Few passage migrants apparently 
ventured into the hills and after 8 September recording of migrants was 
largely limited to the evening hour by the river and the walk to and from the 
river. Waders that arrived at Fah overnight and may have been by the river 
in the early morning would soon have been disturbed by passing guerillas 
and would have left before my evening visit. 

Several Ethiopian species one would have expected to see were notably 
absent. Thus, no Fulvous Chatterers Turdoides fulvus or Drongos Dicrurus 
adsimilis were seen at Fah and hornbills and rollers were scarce. Kingfishers 
were also absent, despite a wealth of food in the form of tadpoles in the 
river, though fish were absent. No doubt the extremely limited nature of 
both my observations and the area that I covered account for the compara- 
tively small number of species seen; but Fah is a dry environment, apart 
from the stretch of river, and the resident avifauna must be very restricted 
in species. The main gaps in my list must be of migrants and visitors. 

In the following systematic list remarks have been made where my obser- 
vations differ from or add to Smith's data. Numbers against each species 
! refer to the numbers given in Urban & Brown (1971); those in brackets 
correspond to those used by Smith (1957). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 82 


(24) 17. Ixobrychus minutus Little Bittern. Singles 2i.ix and 14.x. Smith recorded it only as a 
spring passage migrant at over 2300 m, as did Urban & Brown (1971); it has since been 
caught between late viii and late x elsewhere in Ethiopia (Ash in litt.). 
(22) 19. Nycticorax nycticorax Night Heron. An immature, possibly always the same indivi- 
dual 19-20.X, 3.xi and 5.xi feeding on tadpoles by the river at dusk and sheltering in a small 
cave during daylight. Smith found it scarce throughout Eritrea and was unsure whether it 
was a Palaearctic migrant or resident. 

(19) 21. Ardeola ralloides Squacco. Singles seen most days 3.ix-io.xi, sometimes several 
together, max. 5 on 27JX. One bird was picked up emaciated and exhausted. Smith found 
a southward coastal movement in late ix and early x, with only occasional individuals 
(18) 22. Ardeola ibis Cattle Egret. Single bird by the river early viii, 7 on 31. viii. 

(15) 26. Egretta intermedia Yellow-billed Egret. 1-2 on 10, 11, 15 and 19.x. 18 unidentified 
egrets seeen 13.x were thought to be this species but may have been E. schistacea. Smith 
found E. intermedia to be rare but he describes E. schistacea as a very common resident 
near the coast. 

(16) 27. Egretta gar^etta Little Egret. Single bird 6-8. x. Smith recorded it as a common 
passage migrant late ix-early x. 

[(13) 32. Ardea purpurea Purple Heron. Probably 2 on 26. ix and another on 21.x flying 
noisily overhead and attempting to land by the river. Smith recorded a spectacular migra- 
tion with parties of up to 70 birds moving south along the coast, ix and x.] 
(26) 34. Scopus umbretta Hammerkop. Singles 31. vii and 2o.xii. 

(50) 62. Anas strepera Gadwall. One exhausted immature male, 3.xi. Smith states regular on 
passage in x. 

(53) 70. Anas querquedula Garganey. Single 22.viii. The commonest duck according to 
Smith, with the earliest arrival early vii, to late x. 

(78) 84. Milvus migrans Black Kite. A juvenile, 16 and 23.viii. 3-4 overhead, 8.xi and a 
single 2 5. xii were probably M. m. migrans which Smith found an abundant passage migrant 
xi and xii. 

(66) 86. Neophron percnopterus Egyptian Vulture. Frequently seen in a pair or singly, vi- 
viii, probably breeding on cliff nearby. 

[(61) 90. Gyps sp. 2 on 23.VH were thought to be G.fulvus, but no positive identification.] 
(89) 94. Circaetus gallicus Short-toed Harrier Eagle. Single, low over the hills, 8.xi and 3.L 
(92) 97. Terathopius ecaudatus Bateleur. Singles, 29. vii and 3.L 

(103) 102. Melierax metabates Dark Chanting Goshawk. A juvenile present vii-i. Prey items 
included lizards as well as birds, and an attempt was made to catch a young Ground 
Squirrel Xerus rutilus. 

(100) 112. Accipiter badius Shikra. Frequent sightings of single birds, vi-i. 
(95) 115. Buteo buteo vulpinus Steppe Buzzard. Frequently overhead, x and xi. 
(83) 122. Aquila rapax Tawny Eagle. Several sightings of A. r. raptor or A. r. orientalis 
22.viii-10.xii. Smith recorded A. r. raptor as a common resident and A. r. orientalis as an 
abundant autumn immigrant. 

(86) 126. Hieraaetus fasciatus African Hawk Eagle. Occasional sightings throughout our 
stay at Fah, sometimes at close quarters. 

(87) 1 j 1. Polemaetus bellicosus Martial Eagle. A pair with two juveniles seen frequently vi-ix. 
(73) J 37- Falco tinnunculus Kestrel. Seen regularly after ix, probably the migrant F. t. 

(69) 145. Falco biarmicus Lanner. Frequent sightings, vi-i of 1-2 birds. 

( — ) 150. Ammoperdix heyi Sand Partridge. A pair flew up from the edge of the river on 

3 1. xii and one was clearly observed on a low cliff. Not seen or heard until then. Smith only 

included A. heyi in an appendix of species whose presence required confirmation; the only 

record was of one chick doubtfully identified by Zedlitz (19 10) on an island off Massawa. 

(120) 178. Por^ana por^ana Spotted Crake. One feeding by river near patch of J T uncus, 

1 6.x; twice, when disturbed, it flew to nearby thicket of Castor-oil plant Ricinus communis. 

Smith found it a fairly common spring passage migrant usually above 2300 m, scarcer in 

the autumn. 

(123) 184. Gallinula chloropus African Moorhen. One by river, 17.x, took cover in a small 

cave in rocks by the water when disturbed. Smith found it an uncommon, shy bird of 

upland streams over 2300 m. 

(137) 215. Charadrius tricollaris Three-banded Plover. One pair resident along a 500 m 

stretch of the river for the duration of our stay. Three breeding attempts — in vii, ix and 

8 3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

xii; young hatched from the ix laying on 24.x, and were first seen flying after 30 days. Other 

pairs and family groups passed through Fah during viii. 

(165) 227. Tringa glareola Wood Sandpiper. Singles by the river, 23.viii, 22-25. * x an< ^ 2 on 

1 5. xii. 

(164) 228. Tringa ochropus Green Sandpiper. Singles, i6.vii, 23.viii, 8.ix and 2.x. Smith's 

earliest arrival was 25.vii. 

(163) 229. Tringa hypoleucos Common Sandpiper. Singles, 24-25. vii, 22-23.viii, 2.ix and 


(152) 235. Gallinago gallinago Snipe. One on 5.xi in Juncus patch by the springs. 

(157) 240. Calidris tninuta Little Stint. One on 3.ix and 4 on 2.xi. 

(160) 245. Philomachus pugnax Ruff. 2 on 22.viii (flying ahead of an advancing mass of water 

which temporarily flooded the wadi), one on 24.viii, several on I9.ix and one on 20-21. ix. 

(150) 246. Himantopus himantopus Black-winged Stilt. An adult, i8-i9.ix and an immature, 


(203) 290. Pterocles lichtensteinii Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse. Heard most evenings from lower 

down the wadi where there was more flowing water. 

(212) 302. Streptopelia roseogrisea Pink-headed Dove. Not seen until first week of viii when 
1-2 individuals arrived; common ix-x, then disappeared. Smith recorded local movements 
to foot of escarpment in hottest months. 

(213) 303. Streptopelia senegalensis Laughing Dove. The commonest dove at Fah, less abun- 
dant after ix. 

(214) 304. Oena capensis Namaqua Dove. Small flocks often feeding with S. senegalensis until 
ix. Only occasional individuals recorded after ix, suggesting local movement elsewhere. 
Both this species and S. senegalensis were trapped for food in crude snares by the guerillas. 
(219) 328. Cuculus canorus Cuckoo. One on 25.vii, n.viii, 11.x and 15.x, probably C. c. 
canorus; but Smith considered it an autumn passage migrant i8.viii-late ix. 

(272) 341 or (273) 342. Bubo sp. Seen amongst rocks in ravine, 2.X-24.X, feathers found in a 
cave further up in the hills. Not positively identified but similar to B. lacteus with unspotted, 
finely barred underparts and pink eye-lids. However, B. lacteus prefers resting in large trees, 
whereas B. africanus prefers rocky ravines (Smith). B. africanus was seen further south in 
wooded hills at about 1000 m. Other eagle owls were seen north of Fah on the coastal plain 
during the night of 4.L Dr. J. Ash {in litt.) suggests that B. ascalaphus cannot be ruled out. 
(270) 344. Glaucidium per latum Pearl-spotted Owlet. Only seen once, 31. xii, but frequent 
along wadis south of Fah. 

(276) 352. (277) 353. Caprimulgus sp. From vi-i a female nightjar flew each evening from the 
hills before dusk to a rocky knoll near the main wadi and for 15-20 minutes performed 
aerial antics, repeatedly flying up a few feet from the ground. Perhaps this was feeding 
behaviour but food items were never seen and the bird flew to exactly the same spot each 
evening, only about 10 m from us. It had a uniform appearance but a slight collar was 
evident. Churring and wing-clapping were heard in the hills during vi. A male, flushed from 
the ground and later from a tree in a rocky gully in the hills in early vii, had white tips to 
the outer tail feathers. At the time I tentatively identified them as Dusky Nightjars C. 
fraenatus, but Smith found this species only in the highlands near Asmara, although White 
(1965) did include rocky scrub in Eritrea within its range. Nubian Nightjar C. nubicus, which 
Smith found at and near the coast, is perhaps more likely on range and habitat, but as J. S. 
Ash points out (in litt.), the churring call is certainly not nubicus. 

(302) 363. Apus sp. Possibly Mottled Swift A. aequatorialis seen on 21 and 27.VH in hundreds 
flying low overhead and feeding on winged ants ; noted as large dark swifts compared with 
A. affinis which was also flying amongst them. However, Smith only recorded A. aequa- 
torialis from high altitudes and possibly I was confused by si2e, and Common Swifts A. 
apus, which Mann (1971) recorded in vast numbers in coastal Eritrea in viii and ix, were 
(304) 369. Apus affinis Little Swift. Present for the duration of our stay; 4 pairs breeding on 

: cliffs by the river. Smith recorded it breeding only above 1300 m, wandering to the low- 
lands in winter. 

1 (283) 373. Colius macrourus Blue-naped Mousebird. Common in groups of up to 6-7 from 
vi .-i. 

(248) 384. Merops apiaster European Bee-Eater. A flock of about 30, 24. viii and 2 flocks 
' passing over, 2 5. viii. 

(249) 385. Merops superciliosus persicus Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater. Two exhausted birds by the 
river, 29. viii and a flock, 6.ix, earlier dates than known to Ash (in press), but Mann (1971) 
recorded it on the Dahlak Islands and at Massawa from 20.viii. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 84 

(252) 388. Merops albicollis White- throated Bee-Eater. Several pairs along the main wadi> 

vi-vii. Small flocks ( ? family groups), viii and ix, then not seen again. Presumed breeding 

on cliffs vi-vii. 

(235) 395. Coracias abyssinica Abyssinian Roller. Single, 26.viii. Smith noted that it wanders 

during the autumn. More were seen by a wadi with more trees, about 30 km from the 

camp at Fah. 

(261) 399. Upupa epops epops Hoopoe. 1-4 seen daily 2o.viii-early ix, an earlier arrival date 

than given by Ash (in press). 

(256) 404. Tockus nasutus Grey Hornbill. Occasional visitor, heard several times, and family 
group of 4 birds seen once by main wadi, 2i.ix; common further south in lowland Acacia 
scrub north of the Asmara to Massawa road, early vi. 

(257) 405. Tockus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Hornbill. Not seen at the camp but several seen 
about 30 km away by a tree-lined wadi. 

(288) 416. Lybius melanocephala Black-throated Barbet. 2-3 pairs vi-i. Nested in a hole in a 

Balanites tree by a ravine, presumed to be incubating in xii. 

(290) 420. Trachyphonus margaritatus Yellow-breasted Barbet. Two pairs at Fah. A pair was 

feeding young in a cliff hole on 26. v further south in Eritrea. 

(293) 430. Campethera nubica Nubian Woodpecker. Frequently seen, vi-i. 

— 436. Thripias namaquas Bearded Woodpecker. Seen once, vii. Smith knew of no records. 

(308) 447. Ammomanes deserti Desert Lark. One pair seen most days, vi-i, on rock-strewn 
slope between the hills and the wadi. During xi and xii this pair became very tame, visiting 
us each morning for breadcrumbs. Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957) note that this species 
is usually shy. 

(309) 457. Galerida cristata Crested Lark. Single birds 26.vii and 29.x. 

(424) 459. Riparia riparia European Sand Martin. First seen 7. viii, a single bird; several 

3«ix and a flock 17JX; then seen nearly daily in small groups late ix-x. 

(419) 462. Hirundo rustica Swallow. First seen 9.viii, a single bird; 12 on 2 5. viii and small 

numbers daily to end x. 

(422) 468. Hirundo daurica Red-rumped Swallow. Single on 8.ix and 3 together i8.ix. 

Smith noted that H. d. rufula is probably a regular passage migrant but that the resident 

H. d. melanocrissa may also move down to the coastal plains in winter. 

(429) 472. Hirundo fuligula African Rock Martin. Resident vi-i, breeding on cliffs by the 

river and in the hills, incubating in xii; recently fledged young seen 3.L 

(320) 476. (323). Motacilla flava Yellow Wagtail. Passage migrant first seen 29. viii, then 

flocks of over 20 seen daily by the river until 29.x. Four probable races distinguished — 

lutea on 6.ix,feldegg, thunbergi and flava; mixed flava and thunbergi flocks were most common. 

Smith recorded M. flava late viii-early v. An out of season bird seen and further south 

in Eritrea a pair (male feldegg), both with injured legs, 31. v. 

(319) 477. Motacilla cinerea Grey Wagtail. Single bird, I2.viii, then seen daily singly or in 

groups of up to 6 until 27.x. Smith first noted Grey Wagtails on 22.viii. 

(317) 479. Motacilla alba White Wagtail. Recorded from 20.x until my departure on 4.i, 

numbers increasing to a maximum of 19. One of the few Palaearctic migrants to remain at 

Fah after x. Smith found it a late migrant, arriving first on 14.x in Eritrea, but Mann (1971) 

recorded it on the Dahlaks during early ix. 

[(325). 481. Anthus campestris Tawny Pipit. Probably this species seen low on the hills, 

3 I - X »-] 

(326) 484. Anthus similis Long-billed Pipit. 1-2 pairs frequently seen vi-i, usually on rocks 
near the river, coming to drink. Smith noted that A. s. nivescens should occur in eastern 
Eritrea but did not obtain a specimen. 

(329) 486. Anthus trivialis Tree Pipit. Usually seen singly but up to 3 birds i2.ix.-20.x. 
Smith only recorded this pipit above 1250 m. 

(330) 487. Anthus cervinus Red-throated Pipit. First seen 22.x, 2 birds; then 1-2 daily to 3-xi. 
(334) 494. Pycnonotus barbatus White-vented Bulbul. Frequent tame resident. Breeding south 
of Fah, incubating on 5«vi, indicating laying in v or vi. 

(440) 513. (441). Lanius collurio Red-backed Shrike. L. c. collurio seen frequently 29.viii- 
1 1. xii — single males and females; red-tailed L. c. isabellinus seen from 29. ix up to my depar- 
ture 4.L One bird with unusually large white wing patches wintered close to the tall 
Acacia tortilis by the wadi and could be seen daily. Occasionally the resident L. excubitor 
drove this red-tailed shrike away. Smith noted that the nominate race was only a passage 
migrant mid viii-late ix. 

(437) 514. Lanius minor Lesser Grey Shrike. Two seen separately, 28.viii and 30. viii, 
feeding on cicadas. 

85 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

(436) 515. Lanius excubitor Great Grey Shrike. Pair present for the duration of my stay. 

They became remarkably tame, scavenging pieces of goat meat and attracted to a tin of 

sugar around which large wasps gathered. Single birds in viii and ix may have been passage 

migrants of other than the resident race. 

(442) 520. Lanius senator Woodchat Shrike. A female arrived 2.ix and remained in a small 

area close to the Acacia tortilis until -/.ix. 

(439) 521. Lanius nubicus Nubian Shrike. Only one record, 25.x. Surprisingly uncommon, 

as it was common in the Tigre lowlands in i, ii and iii 1976. 

(523) 369. Saxicola rubetra Whinchat. Singles i2.ix and 3«xi. Smith noted that it did not winter 

in Eritrea, leaving by mid ix but Ash (in press) recorded it in Ethiopia 26.viii-first week v. 

(358) 530. Oenanthe xantboprymna Red-tailed Wheatear. A male seen in a rocky gully 27.XH 

and 3 i.xii— 3.L 

(352) 531. Oenanthe isabellina Isabelline Wheatear. 1-3 25.viii-22.ix. Surprisingly this was 

the only autumn wheatear passage migrant seen. 

(356) 532. Oenanthe leucopyga White-rumped Wheatear. Resident pair seen frequently. 

Courtship observed in the hills in x and xi and a juvenile seen in vii. Smith recorded it as a 

local scarce wheatear, confined to lava fields in lower Dancalia from Assab north to Gaharre 

and perhaps further. The Fah records are indeed further north. I also recorded it on the 

laval slopes of Mt. Ertale, Tigre in March 1976. 

[(360) 534. Oenanthe bottae Red-breasted Wheatear. One brief sighting, 8.ix, probably of 

this species. Smith had one record of 0. b. heuglini from near Keren.] 

(362) 535. Cercomela melanura Black-tailed Rock Chat. Common resident amongst rocks in 

the hills and feeding under bushes by the main wadi. Juveniles seen in early i, indicating 

laying in xi or xii. 

(349) 545. Monticola solitaria Blue Rock Thrush. First seen 6.x, thereafter up to four daily 

up to the time of my departure in early i. Ash (in press) recorded the earliest arrival date as 

1 3.x. (No rock Thrushes M. saxicola seen.) 

(373) 547. Phoenicurus ochruros Black Redstart. A male in a rocky gully, 9.xii. A poorly 
known species in Ethiopia; Smith gives only one record, Feb. 1907; Cheesman recorded 
it as local and not uncommon in tree-forest at 1300 m but not seen on the high plateau 
(in Moreau 1972); Mann (1971) recorded it in 1962 in 'ones and two's on the Dahlak Archi- 
pelago during the last week of August and first week of September'. Urban & Brown (1971) 
summarise its status as an uncommon migrant in the north of the west highlands, but there 
is a paucity of recent records. I recorded two near the crater of Mt. Ertale, Tigre in March 

(372) 548. Phoenicurus phoenicurus Redstart. Common passage migrant, 10.x-5.xi, both 

races — samamiscus and phoenicurus. A female on 2.xi was feeding from rocks on the ground 

in the manner of a Red-tailed Chat Cercomela familiaris. 

(371) 549. Cercotrichas podobe Black Bush Robin. Common resident, breeding vi. 

(386) 550. Cercotrichas galactotes Rufous Bush Chat. Common and breeding v and vi. After 

ix it disappeared. A single seen late x may have been a migrant C. g. syriaceus. Smith made 

no mention of any regular movement of C. g. minor, describing it as resident. 

(374) 560. Luscinia svecica Bluethroat. A male L. s. magna by the river i8.ix~3.x. A second 
male 18.x; both fed on beetle larvae living in vertical burrows in moist sand by the river. 
Smith recorded it as a scarce passage migrant. 

(375) 561. Irania gutturalis White-throated Robin. One male, 26.viii. Smith found it a 
common autumn passage migrant 28.viii-23.ix above 2000 m. 

(394) 586. Acrocephalus scirpaceus Reed Warbler. One caught i.ix, but there were numerous 

Acrocephalus warblers in Salvadora bushes along the wadi 25.viii-end ix, some of which may 

well have been A. palustris or A. scirpaceus. 

(392) 588. Acrocephalus arundinaceus Great Reed Warbler. Several birds passing through 

between i4.viii and 2 5. viii, an earlier arrival date than met with by Ash (in litt.). Two were 

caught, both in tail moult. 

(390) 596. Hippolais pallida Olivaceous Warbler. Present throughout much of our stay, 

first seen 13.VL A pair was observed in the Acacia tortilis, 27.VH but none after x. Possibly 

it breeds in Eritrea. 

(381) 598. Sylvia hortensis Orphean Warbler. Birds seen between xi and i were believed to 

be this species but some may have been confused with the resident S. leucomelaena. 

(379) 599. Sylvia borin Garden Warbler. Passage migrant seen only 25~26.viii. 

(380) 600. Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap. Seen daily 11.X-28.X. 
(378) 601. Sylvia communis Whitethroat. Only seen 12.X-22.X. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 86 

(377) 602. Sylvia curruca Lesser Whitethroat. Seen 28.viii-i6.x, an earlier arrival date than 
Smith's of i6.ix, and I2.ix which Mann (1971) recorded. 
(383) 605. Sylvia mystacea Menetries Warbler. Only seen twice, on 7JX. 
(382) 606. Sylvia kucomelaena Red Sea Warbler. Frequent throughout our stay. Often in 
Acacia melliphera in rocky gullies but also feeding in trees by the main wadi. Courtship 
behaviour and song noted, particularly in mid xii. Smith also noted this warbler in steep 
gullies with sparse Acacia cover below 300 m. 

(396) 607. Phylloscopus trochilus Willow Warbler. Numerous records during late viii and ix, 
some of which may have been also of P. collybita, but song not heard. One bird seen on 
24.x and 27.x in Salvadora by the river had a grey uniform appearance from a distance like 
that of Sylvia borin but a slighter, less rounded appearance; at close quarters green on the 
wings, greyish-white underparts and yellow tinge to the breast and vent were noted. 
Possibly P. bonelli, but the only other previous record for Eritrea or Ethiopia was from 
Massawa by Beals in 1965. 

(399) 632. Spiloptila rufifrons Red-faced Warbler. Only one pair seen, 29.x, in stunted Acacia 
by the edge of a rocky gully in the hills, despite being constantly alert for this species. 
Smith found it locally common below 800 m. 
(401) 639. Sylvietta brachyura Crombec. Frequently seen, vi-i. 

(355) 644. Muscicapa striata Spotted Flycatcher. Perhaps the most numerous and conspicu- 
ous passage migrant at Fah, up to six birds seen daily 17.viii-3.xi. Smith recorded it as 
common in the autumn, i8.viii-late x. 

(341) 655. Batis orientalis Grey-headed Puff-back Flycatcher. Frequently seen, vi-i; male 
singing vii and viii, and a family group seen 2 2. xii, indicating laying in xi. 

(477) 670. Anthreptes metallicus Pigmy Sunbird. Abundant vi-ix but absent x-i (when I 
left). Smith also noted this marked regular local migration in eastern Eritrea; he found that 
birds appear on the coastal plain in i and ii and depart, probably for the foot of the escarp- 
ment in vi. At Fah, by ix, sunbirds were in non-breeding dress ; during vii and viii they had 
gathered with juveniles during the day in the tall Acacia tortilis, where up to 60 were present 
at mid-day. Breeds v and vi, but a late nest containing young was found 28.viii. 

(478) 679. Nectarinia habessinica Shining Sunbird. Much less common than A. metallicus 
but 1-4 usually seen daily throughout our stay. Four males displaying in the same Acacia 
n-i2.viii; females buildings nests 9.viii and 3cviii; another pair feeding young in a nest 
at end viii. Further south in Eritrea, in lowlands east of Asmara, a pair was feeding young 
in a nest 27.V. 

(524) 691. Emberi^a hortulana Ortolan. 1-4 by the river 20.ix-28.ix. Smith noted it as an 

abundant passage migrant above 1300 m with a few staying to winter. 

(528) 697. Emberi^a striolata House Bunting. Not common, but seen on several occasions, 

most months from vi-i, usually in pairs. 

(503) 718. Amadina J "asciata Cut-throat. A small flock, 27-28.vii. 

(510) 724. Estrilda rhodopyga Crimson-rumped Waxbill. Seven on 30.x and four on 28.xii. 

(502) 738. Lonchura malabarica Silverbill. 1-2 pairs seen frequently in all months, usually by 

the river. 

(497) 747- Ploceus galbula Ruppell's Weaver. Common along the main wadi, with scattered 

small breeding colonies in Acacia trees; nest building in xi and xii. Further south in Eritrea 

I saw active breeding colonies with eggs and nestlings in v and vi. 

(486) 786. Passer luteus Sudan Golden Sparrow. Two immature birds first seen i4.viii when 
they came to drink from a pan lid; flocks of up to 30 seen occasionally up to i, but all in 
non-breeding dress. Smith found it on the coastal plains below 300 m and breeding in i. 

(487) 789. (488) 790. Petronia sp. A single bird in the main wadi on several occasions in 
vi was one of these two species. Fleeting glimpses suggested P. dentata but J. S. Ash 
(in litt.) believes pygita is more likely on habitat, although Smith found dentata in Acacia in 
Eritrea. P. bracbydactyla was ruled out on dates. 

(490) 791. Sporopi pes frontalis Speckle- fronted Weaver. A small flock seen once very briefly 
in vii. Smith however, noted its absence from eastern Eritrea, although Friedmann (1937) 
indicated that it did occur there. S. frontalis was common on the Tigre/Eritrean border at 
heights of up to about 2000 m in v, and in lowlands east of Asmara in late v, when it was 

(461) 802. Cinnyricinclus leucogaster Violet-backed Starling. Common in vi and vii, feeding on 
Salvadora berries, but only rarely seen after vii; 3 females seen a8.viii. Smith stated that 
plateau and western birds were migrants but that eastern birds were resident throughout 
the year. In lowlands east of Asmara this species was feeding small young in a hole in a 
tree in late v. 


87 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

(460) 811. Creatophora cinerea Wattled Starling. Ten on 23.VH and one male in breeding 

dress 30.viii. 

(471) 814. Buphagus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Oxpecker. Seen frequently on camels, goats 

and donkeys passing through Fah. 

(453) 815. Oriolus oriolus Golden Oriole. A male, 27.viii, was the first of many passing 

through. 1-2 seen daily to 24JX Smith recorded it as a common autumn and spring passage 

migrant, from i.ix to third week of x. Mann (1971) recorded them on the Dahlaks on 28- 


(459) 824. Corvus ruficollis Brown-necked Raven. Seen sporadically throughout our stay. 

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Dr. J. S. Ash for reading and commenting on 
an earlier draft of this paper. 

References : 

Ash, J. S. 1977. Four species of birds new to Ethiopia and other notes. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 

— In press. The status of Palaearctic Birds in Ethiopia. Ostrich. 
Boswall, J. 1971. Notes from coastal Eritrea on se ected species. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 91: 

Friedmann, H. 1930, 1937. Birds collected by Childs Frick Expedition to Ethiopia and 

Kenya Colony, Pts 1-2. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 153. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1957. African Handbook of Birds: Birds of 

Eastern and North Eastern Africa. Vols. 1 and 2. London. 
Mann, C. F. 1971. Migration in the Dahlac Archipelago and the neighbouring mainland 

of Ethiopia, autumn 1962. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 91: 41-46. 
Moreau, R. E. 1972. The Palaearctic- African Bird Migration Systems. Academic Press: 

London, New York. 
Smith, K. D. 1957. An annotated check list of the birds of Eritrea. Ibis 99: 1-26, 307-337. 
Urban, E. K. U. & Brown, L. H. 1971. A Checklist of the Birds of Ethiopia. H.S.I. Univ. 

Press: Addis Ababa. 
White, C. M. N. 1965. A Revised Checklist of African Non-passerine Birds. Government 

Printer: Lusaka. 
Zedlitz, O. 1910. Meine Ornithologische Ausbeute in Nordost Afrika. /. Orn. 58: 280- 

394, 73 I ~ 8o 7; 59: !-92, 591-613- 

Address: Yew Tree Cottage, Lone Lane, Penallt, Gwent, Wales. 

On the validity of Alee do crisiata robertsi Peters, 1945 

by P. A. Clancey 

Received 21 fanuary 1978 
Sharpe (1892) appears to have been the first to demonstrate the existence of 
geographical variation in the continental African populations of the Mala- 
chite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata Pallas, 1764: Cape of Good Hope, Cape. 
Salomonsen (1934) and other workers in the 1 930*5 acknowledged this 
variation by recognising the nominate subspecies from South Africa, placing 
the other continental populations in A. c. ga/erita Muller, 1776: Senegal. 
Roberts (1932, 1935) described and recognised a third subspecies from the 
arid interior of southern Africa: Corythornis cristata longirostris (1932), the 
type-locality of which is Kabulabula, Chobe R., northern Botswana. As 
pointed out by Peters (1945), when the Genus Corythornis is merged with 
AJcedo, Roberts' name longirostris is not available because of the prior 
Alcedo longirostris Radde, 1884: Caucasus, a synonym of A. atthis atthis 
(Linnaeus), 1758. To replace the pre-occupied A. c. longirostris (Roberts), 
1932, Peters proposed A. c. robertsi. 
In their important study of birds from Gabon and the Moyen Congo, 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 88 

Rand, Friedmann & Traylor (1959) confirmed the findings of Salomonsen, 
at the same time rejecting A. c. robertsi, synonymized earlier with the nomi- 
nate subspecies by Vincent (1952). Winterbottom (1961) expressed the view 
that the bill-length character used by Rand et a/., Salomonsen and others to 
uphold two mainland races of the Malachite Kingfisher was invalid, as on 
this variable alone galerita was certainly not separable from cristata. In a 
re-examination of the variation, Clancey (1965) confirmed that cristata and 
galerita were separable on the basis of ventral colouration. At that time, 
following Rand et a/., it was considered that robertsi should be treated as 
synonymous with galerita. Recently in the course of correspondence, Mr. 
M. P. Stuart Irwin, Director of the National Museum of Rhodesia, Bulawayo, 
expressed the view that robertsi was valid on the basis of the series in the 
collection under his control, and requested that I reopen the question of its 

Variation in the continental populations of A. cristata affects the lengths 
of the bill and the wing, the degree of saturation of the under-parts and the 
colour of the under wing-coverts. Most arrangements of the populations 
have relied heavily on size characters, but as I have shown (1965), variation 
in the colour of the venter provides a more satisfactory means of arranging 
the populations of this kingfisher into admissible subspecies. When he 
separated northern Botswana birds as C. c. longirostris = A. c. robertsi, 
Roberts (1932) characterized them as averaging smaller than A. c. cristata 
of South Africa, but with the bill longer, and with the underside of the wing 
paler. The new subspecies was proposed on 1 7 skins and 1 6 of nominate 

The pooled resources of most South African museums and the National 
Museum of Rhodesia have enabled me to examine 24 specimens from the 
population named as robertsi and from immediately vicinal populations. 
Compared with Cape topotypes of the nominate subspecies, material from 
northwestern Rhodesia, northern Botswana and northern South West Africa 
stands apart on the starkly whiter throat and abdominal surfaces, and in 
moderately worn birds by the wholly whiter venter. The under wing-coverts 
are paler, less reddish cinnamon, and the wing-edge is whiter. The shift to 
a whiter ventral surface is perhaps better marked in the juveniles than in the 
adults, and, moreover, seems less likely to have been enhanced in any way 
by environmental factors, such as solar bleaching or abrasion, as I suspect 
has been the case in some of the whiter ventralled adults. In juveniles of 
robertsi the venter is whiter from the throat to the abdomen, and the pinkish 
buff or cinnamon is restricted to the lateral surfaces, there being no tendency 
to have a breast-band as in the nominate race. 


Wing measurements (mm) of Alcedo cristata 
A. c. cristata Wing Mean Standard deviation Standard error 

Cape 20 6*9 59-64 60 ") 1-32 0-30 

Natal 20cJ? 58-63 6o-o 1-42 0-32 

Transvaal 20 0*$ 57—61 59-2 1-25 0-28 

Rhodesia 256*$ 56-62 58-5 1 • 56 0-31 
A. c. robertsi 

Botswana 22 6*9- 53 * 5—59 56-4 1-51 0*32 

89 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Compared with the nominate race, robertsi also reveals a satisfactory size- 
difference, the wing being shorter in series (Table 1). The culmen length 
from base in 12 <£§ of A. c. cristata from the Cape is 32-5-39-5, versus 35- 
39 mm in robertsi ', confirming the findings of Winterbottom that there is no 
statistically significant difference in bill-length between these two races. 

Compared with A. c. galerita, A c. robertsi is distinguishable on the basis 
of the more starkly white throat, white as opposed to buff belly, and in 
having the under wing-coverts paler and the wing-edge whiter. As in the 
comparison with the nominate race, robertsi wears to a wholly whiter 
ventralled bird than in galerita. The differences postulated in respect of the 
juveniles of robertsi also hold when a comparison is effected with juvenile 
material of galerita, the former being wholly whiter from throat to crissum. 
In size there is no difference between the two races. 

In conclusion, a re-examination of the bulk of the material of the Malachite 
Kingfisher held in southern African museums indicates that A. c. robertsi 
should be recognised as a valid subspecies, the characters and ranges of the 
three mainland African races of this kingfisher being as follows : 

(a) Alcedo cristata cristata Pallas, 1764 

Throat buffy white ; breast-band, sides and flanks dull ochraceous-tawny ; 
belly light buff. Juvenile buffy white on throat, rest of venter vinaceous- 
cinnamon, darkest across the breast. Wings of q*$ 58-64 mm (Cape & Natal). 
Range: Southern South West Africa, the Cape, Orange Free State, Natal and 
Zululand, southern Sul do Save, Mozambique, the Transvaal and Rhodesia. 

(b) Alcedo cristata robertsi Peters, 1945 

Throat whiter than last; breast, sides and flanks darker tawny; belly whitish. 
Worn adults wholly whiter below. Under wing-coverts paler and wing-edge 
whiter. Juvenile whiter from throat to crissum. Size smaller: wings 53 • 5-59 

Range: Northern South West Africa, southern Angola, Caprivi Strip, 
northern Botswana, northwestern Rhodesia and southwestern Zambia. 
Remarks: Two specimens of A. c. robertsi in the collection of the Transvaal 
Museum, a $ from Kabulabula, northern Botswana, dated 27 July 1930, and 
an unsexed example from Linyanti, Caprivi Strip, dated 12 October 1970, 
differ from all other adult Malachite Kingfishers of the three continental 
races available in having the pileum barred dull grey and black as opposed 
to caerulean and black, while the normal lustrous bluish violet of the dorsum 
and wings is replaced by light caerulean blue. The significance of these 
aberrant specimens is currently uncertain. 

(c) Alcedo cristata galerita Miiller, 1 776 

Differs from nominate cristata in having the breast, sides and flanks 
darker and more saturated tawny, and with the underwing still darker, the 
wing-edge duller. Juvenile darker below with a better developed breast- 
band. Size as in robertsi. 

Range: Mozambique north of the Limpopo R., Malawi, and Zambia and 
Angola north of robertsi, thence throughout remainder of African mainland 
range of species. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 90 

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Mr. M. P. Stuart Irwin, Director of the National 
Museum of Rhodesia, for drawing my attention to the possible validity of A. c. robertsi 
and for placing his material at my disposal. The Directors of the South African Museum 
(Cape Town), the Natal Museum (Pietermaritzburg), and the Transvaal Museum (Pretoria) 
also assisted by sending their specimens of this kingfisher to Durban for study. 

References : 

Clancey, P. A. 1965. On the variation exhibited by the continental populations of the 

Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata Pallas. Ostrich 56 (1): 34, 35. 
Peters, J. L. 1945. Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 5: 176. Cambridge: Mass. 
Rand, A. L., Friedmann, H. & Traylor, M. A. 1959. Birds from Gabon and Moyen Congo. 

Fieldiana, Zool. 41 (2): 281, 282. 
Roberts, A. 1932. Preliminary descriptions of sixty-six new forms of South African birds. 

Ann. Transv. Mus. 15 (1): 25. 
Roberts, A. 1935. Scientific results of the Vernay-Lang Kalahari Expedition, March to 

September, 1930. Ann. Transv. Mus. 16 (1): 92, 93. 
Salomonsen, F. 1934. Zur Gliederung einiger westafrikanischer Eisvogel. Journ. f. Ornith. 

82: 237-246. 
Sharpe, R. B. 1892. Family Alcedinidae in Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. 17: 165. 
Vincent, J. 1952. Check List of the Birds of South Africa, p. 42. Cape Town. 
Winterbottom, J. M. 1961. Systematic notes on birds of the Cape Province: XIV. Alcedo 

cristata (Pallas). Ostrich 32 (2): 97, 98. 

Address: Durban Museum, P.O. Box 4085, Durban 4000, South Africa. 

Inland observations of Barau's Petrel 
Pterodroma baraui on Reunion 

by M. de L. Brooke 

Received 1 December 1977 

Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui was first described by Jouanin (1963). Since 
then several specimens have been collected and many seen, and the available 
information on the species' biology was summarised by Jouanin & Gill 
(1967). These authors considered P. baraui to belong to the group of tropical 
petrels included in the polytypic species Pterodroma hasitata. Only one nest 
has ever been found, not on Reunion, the type locality, but on Rodrigues 
(Cheke 1974). This note describes further observations on the species in the 
Cirque de Cilaos, Reunion, made daily 15-23 January 1974 and, in particular, 
comments on the diurnal activity pattern at a time when most breeding 
birds are likely to be incubating eggs. 

Study area, weather and methods 

Reunion, a volcanic island of extremely rugged topography, is roughly 
elliptical in shape, about 70 km long from northwest to southeast and about 
50 km from northeast to southwest. The Cirque de Cilaos (c. 21 7' S, 
55 29' E) is slightly west of centre and approximately 25 km from the 
southwest coast. It is from the west and southwest coasts that most Barau's 
Petrels apparently leave the sea en route to their inland nesting grounds 
(Jouanin & Gill 1967). The contoured map (Fig. 1) indicates the large size 
of the walls of the Cirque, which become steeper with altitude so that cliffs 
up to 800 m in height drop down from the major summits such as the Piton 
des Neiges. The height of the woodland canopy is about 10 m at 1000 m 
decreasing to 4 m at 2400 m and then low scrub, with the steepest cliffs bare. 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 



_ Piton des Neiges 

/fa < > ^mrv, jf 

^ *6 L * 

I L A S 

_*4 N , \ 

t '" S I ' -v f , I > 

Escarpment surrounding rirque 
Contours at 300 m. intervals 




Map of the 
Cirque de Cilaos, 
Reunion, showing 
sites (1-6) from 
which Barau's Petrels 
Pterodroma baraui 
were observed 
during January 1974. 

During the observation period the daily weather cycle was well-marked 
and fairly constant. Following a clear night and dawn, cloud built up from 
10.00 (all times refer to local time) and, during the afternoon, virtually all 
areas between 1800 m and 3000 m were in cloud. In the late afternoon strong 
air currents flowed up the walls off the Cirque so that by 20.30, in the after- 
glow period, the Cirque and surrounding mountains were once more clear 
of cloud except for occasional patches below 2000 m which dispersed during 
the night. I am informed (in litt.) by the Ingenieur en Chef de la Meteorologie at 
the Ministere des Transports, St. Denis, that such a pattern is characteristic of 
non-cyclonic periods on Reunion. 

Observations were made on 9 consecutive evenings, once throughout the 
night and on 4 mornings (Table 1). Sunrise and sunset were at about 06.40 
and 20.10 respectively. At the eastern side of the Cirque, where most watches 
were done, there was complete darkness from about 20.45 to 06.15. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 92 

Details of observations on Barau's Petrel Pterodroma baraui in the Cirque de Cilaos, Reunion, 

during January 1974 

Total no, seen P. baraui 

{minimum estimate) last heard 
{morning only) 



Period of 

P. baraui 

{Altitude, m) 


first seen 
{evening only) 

15 Jan- 

1 (1450) 











2 (2600) 











3 (2900) 












Then for 5 mins 

at approx. 

hourly intervals 

through night, 

until dawn 


4 (1950) 




5 (2080) 










6 (1200) 









None heard 

*No time is given here since wind (see text) greatly obscured calling. 


Observations were made mostly from the east side of the Cirque, and a 
few from the Col du Taibit (Site 5), which are mentioned separately. The 
first petrels of the evening appeared well before dusk (Table 1), as recorded 
in November by Jouanin & Gill (1967). Those seen from Sites 1 and 6 were 
directly overhead and usually flying in the direction of the Piton des Neiges 
at an estimated altitude of 1 800-2000 m. It was not possible to be certain 
from which direction they arrived since most were seen only briefly through 
a temporary break in the clouds. At 2000 m the greatest activity occurred 
around 19.00, after which the greatest activity was at increasing altitude. To 
gain height the petrels circled like a raptor, several wing-beats alternating 
with gliding, exploiting the air currents sweeping up the sides of the Cirque. 
The strength of these currents could only be estimated by watching the rate 
at which a cloud boundary moved up the side of the Cirque and by 'feeling* 
the strength of the wind. I estimated that the vertical component of these 
currents might be 1 5 km/hr -1 . 

At 20.15 Barau's Petrels were seen and heard to be concentrated between 
2400 m and 2700 m, and the watches at Sites 4 and 5 established that none 
was calling below 2000 m. This was the period of greatest activity, with up 
to 70 birds visible simultaneously silhouetted against the sky over the ridge 
running south west wards from the Piton des Neiges. The number of petrels 
I saw was therefore somewhat larger than the number recorded by Jouanin 
& Gill (1967). Other petrels, possibly a similar number, were audible be- 
tween the ridge and Site 2, but being close to the cliff were rarely visible in 
the fading light and none was ever seen to land on the cliffs. After 20.15 no 
petrels were heard immediately to the south of Site 2. However the regularity 

93 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

with which 50 or more gathered over the southwestern ridge of the Piton 
suggests that this area holds a breeding colony. Possible nesting sites would 
be the vegetated ledges on the cliffs immediately to the southwest of the 
Piton. Such sites would be secure from the feral rats and cats present in the 

Some petrels were seen flying beyond the west ridge towards the Gros 
Morne where there are also large cliffs. During the evening watch at Site 5 
(Col du Taibit) the cloud did not clear until after dark but the intensity of 
calling was similar to that heard from Site 2 and the large cliffs of the Grand 
Benard may hold a breeding colony. 

From about 20.45 tne amount of calling declined steadily. On 20 January 
when observation stopped at 22.45 tne l ast ca ^ was heard at 22.15 an ^ the 
last bird flew overhead at 22.25. There is apparently little, if any, calling 
through the middle hours of darkness. It was unfortunate that during the 
overnight watch, 20-21 January, a fresh southeast wind sprang up after 
midnight which would have drowned faint calls. However no calling was 
heard at 04.30 on 23 January. Calling recurred from 05.15 or somewhat 
before, intensifying until 05 .45-06.00, at which time some petrels were flying. 
As in the evening, calling was most intense around 2500 m. Calling subsided 
rapidly and was finished by about 06.15, after which time no petrels were 
seen or heard. 


This account of inland activity agrees reasonably with observations at the 
coast in November (Jouanin & Gill 1967, A. S. Cheke pers. comm.). Birds 
began to fly inland from the coast at about 16.30 and continued to do so in 
an ever-increasing stream until, at about 19.00, it was too dark to see. Thus 
the last birds seen leaving the coast before dark would be arriving at the 
presumed colony at the times inland observations suggest, although there is 
no knowing whether the flow of petrels continues inland after dark. Some 
petrels near the coast circled to gain height like those climbing the Cirque 
de Cilaos. There are no dawn observations at the coast. 

Barau's Petrel is unusual among Pterodroma species in combining high 
altitude nesting with a crepuscular pattern of activity at the colony. The 
altitude of the presumed breeding colonies on Reunion is around 2500 m, 
although former colonies may have been somewhat lower (see Jouanin & 
Gill 1967 for historical details), and it nests at only 320 m on Rodrigues 
(A. S. Cheke pers. comm.). By arriving inland well before dark, Barau's 
Petrel is able to circle in the air currents sweeping up the sides of the Cirque 
de Cilaos and thus reduce the energy cost of the ascent to the colony. These 
currents are at their strongest as the light fades in the early evening. Estimates 
were made of the possible energy saving between the two extreme instances 
(i) where all climbing is done in up-currents with wings held in place 
by tonic muscles and all horizontal distance from the coast to the presumed 
colony is covered by downhill gliding; and 

(ii) where all climbing and horizontal progress is achieved by powered 
flight at the minimum power speed. 

The following constants are assumed; mass 400 gm (unpublished data on 
adult P. arminjoniana and juvenile P. baraui provided by A. S. Cheke), wing 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 94 

span 0-9111 (Greenewalt 1962, Jouanin & Gill 1967), lift/drag ratio of 20:1 
(cf. 24-1 in albatrosses — Penny cuick 1972) and gliding speed 15 m/sec -1 
(Pennycuick 1969). The horizontal and vertical distances to be covered are 
25 km and 2 • 5 km respectively and the rate of climb achieved when soaring 
is taken to be 150 m/min -1 . Basal metabolism was worked out from formulae 
given in Marshall (1961). Using the aerodynamic assumptions and equations 
of Pennycuick (1969, 1972) the total energy expended in reaching the colony 
from the coast in the two situations is (i) 12 KJ and (ii) 135 KJ. The latter 
figure does not include basal metabolism since excess heat from the flight 
muscles is probably available during powered flight. Assuming 1 gm of fat 
yields 3 8 KJ of energy, then the fat equivalent utilised in the first situation 
is 0-32 gm and is 3 • 6 gm in the second. Since the two calculations estimate 
the extremes of energy required to reach the colony, in practice energy 
expenditure is likely to be between the two. Nevertheless, the saving due to 
gliding, when compounded over the many journeys made to the colony 
during a breeding season, appears large enough to favour the late afternoon 
arrival at the colony, when up currents are maximum, if this does not conflict 
with other demands on the birds' time. 

The dusk arrival of Barau's Petrels could have a further advantage if, as 
has been suggested for other tubinares, particularly those feeding on squid, 
Barau's Petrel feeds either by night or immediately before dawn (Murphy 
1936, Ashmole & Ashmole 1967, Imber 1973). After displaying at dusk, 
non-breeding birds would have time to travel a considerable distance to sea 
and feed during what may be the optimal period. Breeding adults may possi- 
bly remain paired in their burrows overnight and the departure of one bird 
of the pair would then account for the short period of pre-dawn calling, 
when the intensity of calling is much lower than at dusk. Warham (1956) 
noted that in the Great- winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera members of the 
pair usually stay together for several hours during incubation changeovers, 
as do some Trindade Petrel P. arminjoniana pairs at Round Island (A. S. 
Cheke pers. comm.). In mid-January most pairs of Barau's Petrel are likely 
to be incubating and may behave similarly. 

Acknowledgements : I am extremely grateful to Anthony Cheke for much help and pleasant 
company in the Mascarenes and for useful criticism of the manuscript, which also benefited 
from the comments of Drs. W. R. P. Bourne, A. W. Diamond, E. K. Dunn and C. M. 
Perrins. Dr. C. J. Pennycuick stimulated my interest in the energetic aspects of the petrels 
behaviour and Maggie Norris typed the manuscript. 

References : 

Ashmole, N. P. & Ashmole, M. J. 1967. Comparative feeding ecology of seabirds of a 

tropical oceanic island. Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. Bull. no. 24. 
Cheke, A. S. 1974. Unpublished report on Rodrigues. Mascarene Islands Expedition, 

British Ornithologists' Union. 
Greenewalt, C. H. 1962. Dimensional relationships for flying animals. Smithson. Misc. 

Collns. 144, no. 2. 
Imber, M. J. 1973. The food of Grey-faced Petrels {Pterodroma macroptera gouldi (Hutton) 

with special reference to diurnal vertical migration of their prey. /. Anim. Ecol. 42 : 

Jouanin, C. 1963. Un petrel nouveau de la Reunion, Bulweria baraui. Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. 

Paris (2) 35: 593-597- 
Jouanin, C. & Gill, F. B. 1967. Recherche du petrel de Barau Pterodroma baraui. UOiseau 

37: 1-19. 

95 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Marshall, A. J. (ed.) 1961. The Biology and Comparative Physiology of Birds. London and New 

York: Academic Press, 2 vols. 
Murphy, R. C. 1936. Oceanic Birds of South America. New York: Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 2 

Pennycuick, C. J. 1969. The mechanics of bird migration. Ibis in: 525-556. 
— 1972. Animal Flight. London: Edward Arnold. 
Warham, J. 1956. The breeding of the Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera. Ibis 98: 


Address: Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology, South Parks Road, Oxford 
OXi 3PS, England. 

The Cambridge collection of Fijian and Tongan 

by Dick Watling 

Received 21 November 1977 
In the Cambridge University Zoology Museum there is a little known collec- 
tion of 140 skins of 42 species or subspecies of Fijian and Tongan landbirds, 
containing several very interesting skins. The collection has been un- 
deservedly overlooked, probably because its existence has not been the 
subject of any published report. The majority of the skins were collected by 
Baron Anatole von Hugel, the renowned anthropologist, in 1875, material 
being obtained from most of the main islands. The other major contributor 
was L. Wiglesworth, who collected at the turn of the century. J. Lister 
collected most of the Tongan skins in 1889. 

Von Hugel's most significant contribution was the skin of the Barred 
Rail Nesoclopeus poecilopterus, which he collected on Ovalau, a small island 
close to Viti Levu, although he did most of his ornitholological work on the 
latter island. The species has not been positively recorded this century, 
although possibly re-sighted in 1973 (Holyoak, in prep.). The introduction 
of the Mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus in 1883 has been responsible for 
the present demise of ground-living birds on the islands of Viti Levu and 
Vanua Levu where it is at present established. Von Hugel recorded on the 
label of N. poecilopterus 'scarce, very difficult to procure', indicating that it 
might already have been uncommon prior to the introduction of the mon- 
goose; whereas Layard (1875) described it as '. . . generally distributed'. 
Von Hugel collected specimens of two other rails, but surprisingly not 
Gallirallus phillipensis sethsmithi, which is the most widespread of the rails 
in Fiji today. In 1901, Wiglesworth procured no rails at all. 

Von Hugel collected two specimens of Vitia ruficapilla ruficapilla from the 
island of Kadavu, which C. W. Benson considers are possibly type material. 
Another interesting specimen from Kadavu is the Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus 
vitiensis compressirostris, an isolated form slightly larger than other subspecies. 
There is also a single specimen of the rarely collected form C. v. heinii from 
Tongatapu, Tonga. 

Both von Hugel and Wiglesworth collected several specimens of the 
Red-breasted Musk Parrot Prosopeia tabuensis splendens from several localities 
on Viti Levu, suggesting that it was then widespread and common there. 
This parrot was an aboriginal or early post-European introduction to Viti 
Levu from the island of Kadavu, where this form is endemic. Initially it 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 96 

must have thrived in its new environment, despite competition from its 
closely related ecological counterpart, the Yellow-breasted Musk Parrot 
Prosopeia per sonata, which is confined to Viti Levu. However, P. tabuensis 
has since become rare on Viti Levu and is now confined to only a few locali- 
ties on the forested windward side of the island. P. personata, the indigenous 
species, on the other hand remains common in all suitable habitats (pers. 
obs.). The nominate P. t. tabuensis, which is native to the island of Gau, 
was an aboriginal introduction to the islands of Eua and Tongatapu in the 
Tonga group, where the type specimen was collected by Captain Cook. It 
has managed to survive on the larger island of Eua, where there still remains 
suitable habitat, but it is extinct on Tongatapu, which is now devoid of 
natural vegetation. These introductions have provided an interesting experi- 
ment in the ecological separation of closely related species. On Viti Levu, 
where an ecological counterpart was present, P. tabuensis has not established 
itself successfully in the long term. This is apparently despite an initial period 
when it was possibly common. However on Eua in the absence of an ecologi- 
cal counterpart it has thrived. 

The deliberate introduction of these two populations is also of interest. 
It is well known that until comparatively recently Pacific Islanders prized 
red feathers for ceremonial, prestigious or religious garments. This was 
especially so of Polynesians, but is also documented for some Melanesian 
Societies (Harrisson 1937). It is known, for instance, that Tongans and 
Samoans, who have no large bird species with red feathers, regularly sailed 
to Fiji to trade for those from P. tabuensis and also for the scarlet feathers of 
the Collared Lory Phigjis solitarius. This trade stopped under the direction of 
Sir E. im Thurn, Governor of the Colony from 1 904-11. It would seem 
probable that the Tongans, who were often the middlemen in the trade 
(Derrick 195 1), deliberately introduced P. tabuensis to Eua and Tongatapu, 
to avoid or reduce trade with the Fijians, which was not always peaceful 
(Beaglehole 1965). Furthermore, the Tongans have been recorded as having 
transported live birds on occasions (Sclater 1876). It is unlikely that these 
weak flying parrots could have crossed the 800 kms to Tonga in the face of 
the Southeast Trades which blow for most of the year. 

Neither von Hugel nor Wiglesworth collected any of the less common forest 
species such as the Blue-crested Broadbill Myiagra a^ureocapilla, the Black- 
faced Shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis, the Pink-billed Parrotfinch Ery- 
thrura kleinschmidti or the Red-throated Lorikeet Charmosyna amabilis. Von 
Hugel was primarily an anthropologist, but it is somewhat surprising that 
Wiglesworth did not procure any of them, although the first two are by no 
means uncommon. 


The Cambridge collection of Fijian and Tongan landbirds. In the fight-hand column 

localities on the same island are separated by commas and immediately followed by the 

island name in brackets, and this is separated from localities on another island by a colon. 

Fijian orthography for place names in Fiji is used throughout. 

Age and Sex 

Species] sub species <$$ $9 J» v - ? Localities collected 

Demigretta sacra 2 3 Navua R. (2), Rakiraki (1) (Viti 

Levu): Tongatapu (2) 
Butorides striates diminutus 1 Navua R. (1) (Viti Levu) 

Anas superciliosa pelewensis 1 1 Tongatapu 

Species /subspecies 

Age and Sex 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Localities collected 

Accipiter rufitorques 

Circus approximans approximans 

Nesoclopeus poecilopterus 1 

Por^ana tabuensis tabuensis 2 

Poliolimnas cinereus tannensis 1 

Ptilinopus porphyraceus porphyraceus 7 1 

Ptilinopus perousii mariae 1 

Chrysoenas victor 1 

Chrysoenas viridis 1 

Chrysoenas luteovirens 3 1 

Ducula latrans 

Columba vitiensis vitiensis 
Gallicolumba stairii 
Phigys solitarius 

Prosopeia per sonata 

Prosopeia tabuensis splendens 

Prosepeia tabuensis tabuensis 
Cacomantis pyrrophanus simus 
Collocalia spodiopygia assimilis 
Halcyon chloris vitiensis 

Lalage maculosa pumila 
T urdus poliocephalus layardi 
Vitia ruficapilla ruficapilla 
Rhipidura spilodera layardi 1 

Mayrornis lessoni lessoni 3 

Myiagra vanikorensis rufiventris 3 

Ciytorbytichus vitiensis compressirostris 
Clytorhynchus vitiensis vitiensis 2 

Clytorhyncbus vitiensis heinei 
Petroica multicolor pusilla 

Pachycephala pectoralis graeffii 

Artamus leucorhynchus mentalis 

Aplonis tabuensis vitiensis 

Myzpmela jugularis 

Foulehaio carunculata procerior 

Gymnomy^a viridis brunneirostris 
Zosterops explorator 
Zosterops lateralis flaviceps 
Erythrura pealii 

Rewa R. (1), Wainimala (1) 
(Viti Levu): Ovalau (1): One 

Navua R. (Viti Levu) : 
Draiba (Ovalau) 
Nakorovatu (2) (Viti Levu) 
Viti Levu 

Makogai (1): Eua (2), Tonga- 
tapu (8) 
Viti Levu 

Nadrau (2), Wainimala (1), Viti 
Levu (1) (Viti Levu): Ovalau 
(1): Fiji Islands (1) 
Rewa R. (1), Nagarawai (1) 
(Viti Levu): Ovalau (1) 
Levuka (1) (Ovalau) 

Suva (2), Rewa R. (1), Nameka 
(1) (Viti Levu): Moturiki (1): 
2 unknown 

Rewa R. (2), Navua R. (1), 
Nadarivatu (1), Viti Levu (2) 
(Viti Levu) 

Rewa R. (2), Namseka (1), Cen- 
tral Viti Levu (1) (Viti Levu): 
Fiji Islands (1): One unknown 
Eua (2) 

Suva (Viti Levu) 
Rewa R. (Viti Levu) 
Rewa R. (1), Suva (1), Nadariva- 
tu (1) (Viti Levu): Ovalau (2): 
Makogai (1) 

Suva (2), Rewa R. (3) (Viti Levu) 
Fiji Islands 

Nadarivatu (Viti Levu) 
Suva (2) (Viti Levu): Ovalau (1) 
Suva (4) (Viti Levu) : Ovalau (3) 

Rewa R. (1) (Viti Levu) : Ovalau 
(1) : Fiji Islands (2) 

Nadarivatu (3), Wainimala R. (1) 
(Viti Levu) : Ovalau (1) 
Nadarivatu (2), Wainimala R. 
(1) (Viti Levu) 

Suva (1), Rewa R. (1), Waini- 
mala R. (1) (Viti Levu) 
Nimuka (1) (Viti Levu): Ovalau 


Suva (2), Nadarivatu (2) (Viti 

Levu): Levuka (9) (Ovalau) 

Suva (2), Nadarivatu (i), Waini- 

vidrau (1), Viti Levu (1) (Viti 

Levu): Ovalau (1) 

Nadarivatu (Viti Levu) 

Rewa R. (Viti Levu) 

Rewa R. (2), Suva (1) (Viti Levu) 

Rewa R. (2) (Viti Levu) 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 98 

References : 

Beaglehole, J. C. 1965-74. The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Dis- 
covery. Hakluyt Soc. Extra Series 34 (3): 117, 164, 958. 

Derrick, R. A. T951. The Fiji Islands. Govt. Press: Suva. 

Holyoak, D. T. (In prep.) Notes on the Birds of Viti Levu and Taveuni, Fiji Islands. 

Harrisson, T. 1937. Savage Civilisation. Victor Gollancz Ltd: London. 

Layard, E. L. 1875. Notes on Fijian birds. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1875 : 423-442. 

Sclater, P. L. 1876. Exhibition of, and remarks upon, a series of skins of the Parrots of the 
Fiji Islands, obtained by Mr E. L. Layard. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1876: 307-308. 

Address: Box 9216, Nadi Airport P.O., Fiji. 

A female specimen of Gallicolumba jobiensis 

from San Christoval, Solomon Islands 

by D.T. Holyoak 

Received 2) January ip/S 
Gallicolumba jobiensis is widespread in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archi- 
pelago (Mayr 1941, Rand & Gilliard 1967). Females of these populations 
resemble males in the general pattern of coloration, although they are some- 
what duller and darker (Goodwin 1967, Rand & Gilliard 1967). Goodwin 
mentions that he has seen a few specimens said to be females that were of 
typical male colour but he suspected that these might have been wrongly 
sexed by the collector. 

Mayr (1935, 1936) described a specimen from Vella Lavella in the Solomon 
Islands as Gallicolumba jobiensis chalconota. The type is an adult male that 
differs from males of the nominate form in having a slightly heavier bill, less 
white on the lores and the purple on the upperparts less extensive. Besides 
the type (which is housed in the American Museum of Natural History) 
three other Solomon Islands specimens of G. jobiensis are known : two 
immature males from Guadalcanal collected by C. M. Woodford that are 
now housed in the British Museum (Natural History) and Merseyside 
County Museums, Liverpool (Tristram 1889: 269; Salvadori 1893: 599; 
Mayr 1936) and an adult female that was originally identified as Phloganas 
Johanna Sclater (Tristram 1879) which is also in the Liverpool Collection. 

The female specimen in Liverpool (Tristram Collection no. 9864) has 
been widely overlooked. It is labelled '$ iris black, feet dark plum, beak 
black, food berries, seeds, etc., Makira Hr., Solomons, G.E.R.', indicating 
that it was collected by Lieut. G. E. Richards R.N. on San Christoval, as 
mentioned by Tristram (1879). ^ n ^ s specimen is the only record of the 
species from San Christoval and the only known female of the species from 
the Solomon Islands. That it is correctly labelled as a female (and not a 
wrongly determined immature male) and that it is adult is suggested by the 
presence of a few moulting body feathers, by the condition of the dried bill 
and feet and the different coloration from that of the immature males in the 
B.M. (N.H.) and Liverpool. It closely resembles the three male specimens of 
G.j. chalconota in structure and size (wing 142, tail 89, exposed culmen 16, 
tarsus 26 mm). However, its coloration is entirely different from that of the 
adult male type specimen, resembling the two immature males in its generally 
drab appearance while differing from them in lacking rufous tips to the 
mantle feathers, scapulars and some wing-coverts and in having a strong 
green wash on the back, rump and scapulars : 

99 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Top and sides of head blackish-brown with narrow and indistinct grey 
supercilium; mantle very dark bronze-brown with dark olive-green feather 
tips ; back, scapulars and rump very dark green with blackish-brown feather 
bases; upper tail-coverts very dark bronze-brown with blackish-brown fea- 
ther bases ; rectrices blackish-brown with slightly lighter tips to outer feathers ; 
primaries and primary-coverts blackish-brown with lighter fringes to outer 
webs of primaries ; secondaries blackish-brown with dark olive-green wash 
on outer webs of inner feathers ; chin buff; throat and breast dull grey with 
broad brown feather tips; belly and flanks dull brown with grey feather 
bases; under tail-coverts dark grey; under wing-coverts dark brown. 

The marked difference in coloration from females of G.jobiensis might 
suggest that chalconota should be regarded as a distinct species. However, 
Amadon (1943) found that adult females of the closely related G. stairii are 
dimorphic: one morph resembling the adult male plumage while the other 
is generally drab and brownish. A similar situation could exist with chalconota, 
or the Liverpool female specimen could represent an aberrant individual or an 
undescribed subspecies. Additional specimens are needed for proper assess- 
ment of the status of the San Christoval population and of chalconota, but 
recent field workers in the region have not seen the species (Galbraith & 
Galbraith 1962). 

Acknowledgements : I am grateful to the American Museum of Natural History, British 
Museum (Natural History), and Merseyside County Museums for facilities to examine 
specimens in their care and the courtesy of loans. Financial support from the Frank M. 
Chapman Memorial Fund of the A.M.N.H. is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are due to 
Dr. D. Amadon, Professor J. M. Diamond, J. C. Greenway, Jr., Mrs. M. LeCroy, Professor 
E. Mayr and P. J. Morgan for helpful comments. 

References : 

Amadon, D. 1943. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. 52. Am. 
Mus. Novit. 1237: 19-22. 

Galbraith, I. C. J. & Galbraith, E. H. 1962. Land birds of Guadalcanal and the San Christo- 
val Group, Eastern Solomon Islands. Bull. Br. Mus. {Nat. Hist.), Zool. Ser. 9: 1-86. 

Goodwin, D. 1967. Pigeons and Doves of the World. London: Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). 

Mayr, E. 1935. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. XXX. Descrip- 
tions of twenty-five new species and subspecies. Am. Mus. Novit. 820: 2. 

— 1936. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. XXXI. Descriptions 
of twenty-five species and subspecies. Am. Mus. Novit. 828: 4-5. 

— 1 941. List of New Guinea Birds. New York: Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 

Rand, A. L. & Gilliard, E. T. 1967. Handbook of New Guinea Birds. London: Weidenfeld & 

Salvadori, T. 1893. Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum. London: Br. Mus. 21 : 599. 
Tristram, H. B. 1879. On a collection of birds from the Solomon Islands and New Hebrides. 

Ibis 4th ser., 3: 437-444. 

— 1889. Catalogue of a Collection of Birds belonging to H. B. Tristram D.D., LL.D., F.R.S. 
Durham : printed at the Advertiser' Office. 

Address: Dept. of Geography, University of Reading, No. 2 Earley Gate, Whiteknights 
Road, Reading RG6 2AU, England. 

The birds of Alacran Reef, Gulf of Mexico 

by Jeffery Bos wall 

Received 3 February 1978 
This paper presents observations made during a three-week visit to Arrecife 
Alacran in the Gulf of Mexico, from the end of August into September 1975, 
and brings together all other published information on the birds of the reef. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 100 

Alacran Reef, 22 30' N, 89 42' W, lies <r. 137 km north of the port of 
Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico, and c. 805 km south of the coast of Louisiana, 
and its islands are among the few offshore islands in the Gulf of Mexico that 
lie more than c. 40 km from the coast (Fig. 1). The only others are the well- 
known Dry Tortugas in the eastern part of the Gulf, and those to the west 

195* IW 

s J^ 

l8f 1 


(\~^ ' "* ~^^>-\ r\ C 





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Fig. i. Off-shore islands of the Gulf of Mexico. (Drawn by Robin Prytherch) 

that share the Campeche Bank with Alacran, namely, Cayo Arenas, Arrecifes 
Triangulos (Oeste, Este and Sur) and Cayos Areas. Cayo Neuvo, 21 50' N, 
92 04' W, listed by Lowery & Newman (1954) as an offshore island that 
might provide nesting sites for birds, is not included by Paynter (1953) in 
his list of Campeche Bank islands. It appears on the hydrographic chart 
(Barnett 1848) as a bank rather than an island, but it is clear from the pilot 
(Anon 1 941) that there is one cay and two 'above-water sandbanks'. So far 
as I can ascertain no ornithologist has visited this island. All the Campeche 
Bank islands lie between 128 km and 160 km offshore, while the Dry Tortu- 
gas are 109 km from the nearest land. The Alacran group is the most remote 
from the mainland and from other islands. 

The Alacran Reef is of classical half-moon shape (Fig. 2), c. 26 km along 
its longest axis and c. 14 km wide, with its rounded side facing the prevailing 
northeasterly trade winds. Along the open southwest side of the reef the 
navigational chart shows 5 islands, each a bank of coral sand, whose outlines 
vary seasonally with storms and changing wind directions — for example 
Fosbcrg (1962) reported that Desterrada had been cut into two islets by a 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

, ~ 


r - / 


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Fig. 2. The Alacran Reef. (Drawn by Robin Prytherch from a hydrographical chart) 

storm — so that the dimensions that follow must thus be taken as very 
approximate. In the north is Isla Desterrada (o • 9 km long, 18 ha.) also called 
Utowane, which I did not visit. In the south is Isla Desertora (0-25 km long, 
2 ha.), also known as Allison, and locally as Muertos; a pair of islands Chica 
(o- 18 km long, 1 ha.) and Pajaros (0-2 km long, 1 • 3 ha.), the latter known 
locally as Blanca, and Isla Perez (0-95 km long, 13 ha.). 

I was resident on Isla Perez from 0900 on 30 August to 1100 hours on 
21 September 1975, and I landed on Desertora on 1 and 8 September, and 
on Chica and Pajaros on 2 September. My visit was not strictly ornithological 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Fig. 3 (above). Perez Island, Alacran Reef, looking NNW from the balcony of the light- 

I ig. 4 (below). Immature Purple Gallinule Porphyrida niartinica consuming the fruit of a 
Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.), Perez Island, Alacran Reef, 20 September 1975. 

io3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

and my opportunity for making observations varied considerably from day 
to day. In particular I was not able to make and relate daily observations of 
migrants with the weather. 

Perez is the only inhabited island, having a population of two lighthouse 
keepers and two members of the Mexican Marines. It is the largest of the 
southern islands and the most vegetated of the four I visited, having one 
species of conifer (the Australian pine Casuarina sp.), 2 of ornamental 
deciduous trees, 2 species of mangrove, and one species (the prickly pear 
Opuntia sp.) of cactus. The island also boasts large areas of low shrubs, and 
a number of sand-loving plants, e.g. sea lavender Limonium sp. The pines are 
said to have been planted 60 years ago, the tallest being at least 20 m (see 
Fig. 3). The other 3 southern Alacran islands have an impoverished flora, 
no plant growing taller than c. 1 m. 

The vegetation of the 4 southerly islands was identified and mapped in 
great detail in 1899 by Millspaugh (1916) but profound changes have taken 
place according to Fosberg (1962), who gives brief descriptions of the 
terrestrial flora and describes the climate and physiography. 

The only vertebrates seen on Perez besides wild birds and man were two 
domestic dogs and a small species of lizard. No introduced cats (Fe/is sp.) 
were present, and I neither saw nor was told of any rats (Rattus sp.), though 
Dampier (1699) reported 'large rats, which are in great bounty'. 

There are very few published references to the birds of Alacran. Dampier 
(1699) spent 2-3 days among the Alacran islands in the late summer of 
1675, exactly 300 years before my own visit, and mentions some birds, as 
also do Smith (1838) and Marion (1884). In mapping the vegetation of 4 of 
the islands in 1899 Millspaugh (1916) noted nesting seabirds. Kennedy 
(19 1 7) landed on Pajaros and Chica on 20 May 191 2 and wrote specifically 
about birds, as did Paynter (1953, 1955), who visited the 5 Alacran islands 
1-3 September 1952. Siebenaler (1954 and in Paynter 1955) visited Isla 
Desterrada on 6 October 1952. An expedition in July 1959 (Kornicker et al. 
1959) listed the breeding birds of the islands, as well as the marine inverte- 
brates, and produced the best available map (see also Kornicker & Boyd 
1962). A visit in July 1961 (Fosberg 1962), was mainly to study the physio- 
graphy and botany. Summarising the scientific work done at Alacran 
1955-1961, Anon (1963) describes Alacran as one of the world's best 
known atolls. Such, however, is not true of its birds. 


All my observations refer to Isla Perez unless otherwise specified. 

Blue-faced Booby Sula dactylatra. About 2,000 present on Isla Desertora, 1 and 8 Sep., 
adults outnumbering young by 3-4:1. All but a dozen young birds could fly; only one 
nestling was still completely covered in down. A few fully-feathered young were seen being 
fed fish by adults. On Pajaros I found 21 adults and one full-grown but flightless young. 
Dampier (1699) reported boobies in great abundance in 1675 but 'only on some of the nor- 
thernmost' of the '5 or 6 low sandy islets'. He was probably referring to the Blue-faced 
Booby, as may have been Smith (1838) who said 'All the cays swarm with boobies', and 
Marion (1884) who found boobies nesting on Isla Pajaros. Millspaugh (1916) photographed 
this species on its nest at Alacran in March 1899; he found the birds nesting on Desertora 
as well, and implies that they were also breeding on Pajaros and Chica, where Kennedy 
(19 1 7) certainly found them nesting in May 191 2. Kennedy also records 2 'great downy 
youngsters on Pajaros, and some fifty pairs with very small young, or eggs' on Chica. 
Between 1-3 Sep. 1952 Paynter (1955) found 200 individuals on Pajaros, where nesting had 
already been completed. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 104 

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster. Single immatures, 12 and 17 Sep. 4 adults and 2 young 
seen resting on the wreck of the ship 'Caribbean Trader' 13 Sep. According to the lighthouse 
keeper, thousands nest on Isla Desterrada. Paynter (1955) recorded c.500 resting on an 
islet off Isla Pajaros, and 300 on Isla Desterrada in early Sep. 1952 and was told by light- 
house keepers that it nested on both these islands. Siebenaler (1954) recorded it near Dester- 
rada, 5 Oct. 1952. Kornicker et al. (1959) list it without detail as one of 7 seabirds nesting at 

Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens. Seen daily in varying numbers, maxi- 
mum 500 at Isla Desertora, 1 Sep., where a large but partly downy nestling was found on 
8 Sep., near 48 empty nests in low shrubbery. About 100 regularly rested on the wreck of 
the 'Caribbean Trader'. According to the lighthouse keeper it nests also on Isla Desterrada. 
Dampier (1699) found 'Men of War Birds' nesting at Alacran, colourfully describing their 
piratical behaviour. Smith (1838) mentions the species in passing and Millspaugh (19 16) 
put up a cloud of frigates from Desertora and found their nests there. Kennedy (19 17) 
flushed several from Pajaros but did not think they were nesting. In early Sep. 1952 Paynter 
(195 5) found on Isla Desterrada many occupied nests but few eggs; and a month later J. B. 
Siebenaler (in Paynter 1955) estimated 2,500 nests with eggs there. 

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias. An immature near Isla Chica on 6 Sep. 

Green Heron Butorides striatus. Singles on 5, 11, 12, 17 and 18 Sep., 5 on 6th, 40 on 
14th and 16 on 15 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw c. 10 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. One adult on 31 Aug., one young bird on 1 Sep., one 
adult and 2 young on 2nd, one young on 7th, 8 adults on 16th, one adult on 18th and 2 
adults on 19 Sep. Paynter (1955) knew of no records for Yucatan. 

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax. One adult, 1 5 Sep. Not recorded 
in Yucatan by Paynter (1955). 

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Nyctanassa violacea. A single immature, almost 
certainly the same individual, was seen 1, 10, 16, 17, 18 and 19 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw one 
between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis. One female or immature found on the ground in 
convulsions, 5 Sep., died within 10 minutes: there was no external sign of injury except a 
tiny ooze of blood from one nostril. Weight 55-0 gm. Three males given by Palmer (1962) 
weighed 45-0-85-3 gm. Paynter (1955) knew of only one previous record for Yucatan. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus. Siebenaler (1954) saw one near Desterrada 
on 5 Oct. 1952. 

Purple Gallinule Porphyrula martinica. An immature was rummaging in the light- 
house keeper's open air kitchen on 18 Sep. Very tame, it took scraps of food from a bowl, 
even stepped into a basin of water for a bath. It was still present on 19 and 20 Sep. It 
persistently fed on the ripe red fruit of a prickly pear cactus (Fig. 4). 

Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola. Totals for the 4 islands were: in Aug., 
3 on 31st, in Sep., one on 1st, 6 on 2nd, one on 8th, 2 on 10th, 3 on 16th, 5 on 18th, one 
on 19th and 3 on 20th. Paynter (1953) recorded 5 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres. Up to 25 daily on Isla Perez, often feeding inland 
among bushes or in areas of dry coral sand, and in small numbers on the other islands. 
Paynter (1953) saw about 50 between 1 and 3 Sep. 1952, and Siebenaler (1954) one near 
Desterrada on 5 Oct. 1952. 

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Six flushed from among bushes, 20 Sep. 

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia. One, 3 1 Aug. 

Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus . One on 1 Sep., 2 next day and one on 20 Sep. 

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca. Two seen and heard on 2 Sep., one on 8 

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes. One on 17, 18, 19 and 20 Sep. 

Calidris sp. Two black-legged sandpipers on 31 Aug., 2 on 17 Sep. and one on 20 Sep. 
were almost certainly Semi-palmated Sandpipers C. pusilla. 

Sanderling Calidris alba. Up to 10 daily on Isla Perez and also seen on the other islands. 
Paynter (1953) saw 5 between 1 and 3 Sep. 1952. 

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis. Kennedy (1917) shot 2 on Isla Pajaros 
20 May 191 2, misidentifying them as Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii (Lowery & Newman 

105 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla. Seven on 31 Aug., 11 on 1 Sep., 8 on 16th, 11 on 
17th, 4 on 1 8th and 20 Sep. 

Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus. Six on 31 Aug., 9 on 1 Sep., 5 on 2nd, 
9 on 10th and 16th, 10 on 17th, 5 on 18th, 2 on 19th and 11 on 20 Sep. 

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus. Fifteen on 1 Sep. and 7 on 18 Sep. 

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla. I saw no evidence of breeding. Up to c. 100 daily, 
often in attendance near fishing vessels. A small proportion were birds of the year, e.g. 
14 out of 94 on 20 Sep. Kennedy (1917) found 4 nests on Pajaros. Paynter (1955) was told 
by the lighthouse keepers that Laughing Gulls were fairly common nesters throughout 
the reef. 

Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata. Between 12 and 20 daily up to 13 Sep.; thereafter only 1-2 
daily. According to the lighthouse keeper, it nests by the thousand. I saw only 2 young 
birds: one on 1 Sep. barely able to fly, and another with a broken wing but being attended 
by an anxious adult, 13 Sep. Of the early visitors only Dampier (1699) makes specific 
reference to terns — presumably his 'Egg-birds' breeding at Alacran meant terns. Kennedy 
(191 7) found a great colony of Sooty Terns nesting on Pajaros. In early Sep. 1952 Paynter 
(1955) saw only 5 at Alacran, on Isla Perez. He was told that many thousands breed through- 
out the reef. The eggs of Sooty and Noddy Terns are exported in thousands, probably 
tens of thousands, each year, being sold in 1975 at the rate of 100 pesos for 500 eggs. The 
claim is made that no eggs are taken after Easter each year. 

Royal Tern Sterna maxima. Between 30 and no daily; I saw no evidence of breeding. 
Paynter (1955) was told by the lighthouse keepers that they bred May-June. Siebenaler 

(1954) saw some near Desterrada, 5 Oct. 1952. 

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis. Up to about 20 birds most days up to 17 Sep. I 
saw no evidence of breeding. Kennedy (19 17) found a colony on Pajaros, and Paynter 

(1955) saw several hundred early Sep. 1952 and was told that the main colony of several 
hundred birds was on Isla Desterrada. 

Black Tern Chlidonias niger. Three near Isla Desertora, 8 Sep. Paynter (1955) saw 
c. 50 between 1 and 3 Sep. 1952. 

Noddy Tern Anous stolidus. About 2,000 adults and young of the year, were present 
when I arrived, most still occupying nests in shrubs and trees; but they were only a fraction 
of the total of pairs which the lighthouse keeper said nest on the island. Towards the end 
of my stay the island would be deserted during the day, and by 21 Sep. numbers were down 
to several hundred birds. The young birds appeared fully grown and were free flying, but 
persistently begged from their parents, though no fishing or feeding behaviour was obser- 
ved in daylight. They were fed at night, judging from fish remains occasionally found in 
the mornings, as late as 10 Sep. Daytime begging by young terns was much less evident 
by 21 Sep. Paynter (1955) found a few in early Sep. 1952 on Isla Perez by day, but at night- 
fall hundreds roosted. He estimated many hundreds of old nests and concluded that well 
over 1,000 birds must breed on the island. See also under Sooty Tern for notes on the 
commercial exploitation of eggs. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccy^its americanus. Paynter (1953) saw one between 1 and 
3 Sep., 1952. 

Black Skimmer Rynchops nigra. Two together, 18 Sep. 

Humming-Bird Trochilidae sp. One briefly seen and heard, 16 Sep. 

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon. One on 5 Sep., 2 on 14th and one on 15 Sep. 
Paynter (1953) saw one between 1 and 3 Sep. 1952. 

Unidentified larger small passerines. Birds noticeably larger than wood- warblers were seen 
as follows: one on 30 Aug., 2, 7, 17 Sep., 2 on 16 Sep. 

Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus. Four on 6 Sep., 2 on 10th, 3 on 14th, singles on 
15, 16, 19 Sep., 3 on 1 8th and 6 on 20 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw c. 15 between 1 and 3 Sep., 

Tyrannidae sp. A bird with grey head, white breast, and lemon yellow belly seen on 
2 Sep. was almost certainly of the genus Tyrannus. Another, with two noticeable wing bars, 
sulphur yellow underparts and a tail of warm brown, fleetingly observed on 19 Sep. was 
almost certainly a Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus. 

Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe. Singles on 6, 8, 16, 18, 20 and 21 Sep., and 2 on 19 
Sep. A bird with a drooping wing caught flies round the lighthouse keeper's open-air 
kitchen 9-12 Sep. Only one previous record from Yucatan (Paynter 1955). 

Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 106 

Eastern Wood Pewee Contopus virens. One on 19 Sep. 

Bank Swallow Riparia riparia. One on 31 Aug., and in Sep. singles on 1, 6, 12, 15, 
16 and 17 Sep., 2 on 4 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw 8 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. Numbers were not easy to estimate but 15-50 present 
daily. All were birds of the year. A few were seen over the other 3 islands and over 'Carib- 
bean Trader', and occasionally over the open sea. Two dead birds were found 31 Aug. 
and 4 on 2 Sep. One that died in the hand weighed 12 gm. The swallows roosted on the 
buildings of the island. Paynter (1953) saw c. 200 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota. In September, one on 1 Sep., 2 on 4th, 3 on 
6th, and 2 on 17 Sep. One of those seen on 6 Sep. died in the hand and weighed 12 gm. 
Only 2 previous records from Yucatan (Paynter 1955). 

Purple Martin Progne subis. Two on 31 Aug., and one on 2nd, 8 on 4th and 5 on 
14 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw 5 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Turdidae sp. A thrush on 18, 19 Sep., well seen from the rear but not the front, was 
either a Hylocichla or a Catharus. 

Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus. One 3 Sep., and another 19 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw 
one between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Unidentified medium small passerines. Birds about the size of wood- warblers, were seen as 
follows: one on 30 and 31 Aug., and in Sep., 5 on 1st, 3 on 2nd, one on 4th, 2 on 6th, one 
on 10th, one on 13th, one on 14th, 2 on 15 th, one on 16th, 3 on 17th, 2 on 18th, one on 
19th and 2 on 20th. 

Black-and- White Warbler Mniotilta varia. A male on 9 Sep., and individuals in 
female-type plumage were seen as follows: one on 12, 15, 16, 19 and 20 Sep., and 2 on 
14 Sep. 

Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera. Paynter (1953) saw one between 
1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea. One on 1 5 Sep. 

Northern Parula Panda americana. Three on 31 Aug. and one on 1 Sep. Paynter 
(1953) saw one between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia. Single males on 9, 10 and 13 Sep. 

Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens. An adult male on 18, 19 Sep. 
Only 2 previous records (4 individuals) from Yucatan (Paynter 1955). 

Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea. Paynter (1953) saw 2 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Pine Warbler Dendroica palmarum. Siebenaler saw one near Desterrada on 5 Oct. 1952. 

Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus . One on 2 Sep., 2 on 14th and one on 17, 18 and 19 Sep. 
Paynter (1953) saw c. 5 between 1 and 3 Sep. 1952. 

Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis. One on 2 Sep., 2 on 14th, 1 on 17, 
18 and 19 Sep. 

Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus. Two on 4 Sep., and one next day. 

Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina. A male on 16 Sep. and a different, apparently 
moulting male on 18, 19 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw c. 100 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla. One first seen on the evening of 1 Sep. was found 
dead next morning, weighing 8 • o gm. One on 4 Sep., and an intensely yellow individual 
on 9, 10 and 12 Sep. Two on 14, 15, 16, 18 Sep; one of those present on 16th and 18th 
had a well-marked black cap. Not recorded by Paynter (1955) for Yucatan. 

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla. Singles, none of them adult males, on 5, 14, 
15, 16 and 18 Sep. Paynter (1953) saw c. 5 between 1 and 3 Sep., 1952. 

Icterus or Piranga spp. Passerines, almost certainly of one or other of these genera, were 
seen as follows: one on 31 Aug., 1, 9 and 19 Sep., 2 on 6 Sep., and 3 on 12 Sep. 

Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzjvorus. Three on 10, 12, and 14 Sep., one on 16 and 20 Sep. 

Northern Oriole Icterus galbula. Two /. g. galbula on 14 Sep., one a blackish-headed 
female; 3 on 16 Sep., one an adult male. 

Lark Sparrow Cbondestes grammacus. Singles on 11, 15, 18, 19 and 20 Sep. Only one 
previous record from Yucatan (Paynter 1955). 

Finch-like passerines. Two with heavy bills seen 1 9 Sep. and one on 20th, were neither 
Bobolinks nor Lark Sparrows. 

107 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 


A number of the small passerines I saw showed signs of weakness — half 
closed eyes and drooping wings — and a Red-eyed Vireo, for example, can 
be seen in film (Boswall & Fisher 1976) in this condition. From time to 
time a number of tired Barn Swallows allowed the observer closely to 
approach their perches and on 3 occasions, in search of fresh water, perched 
on the edge of a pail, within a metre or 2 of a human. Occasionally swallows 
were seen drinking while on the wing at the small brackish lagoon at the 
south end of the island. Rain, in varying amounts, fell at least every 3-4 
days, but it evaporated fast and on days of no precipitation the only fresh 
water available would have been that derived from insect prey. On 20 Sep. 
an Eastern Phoebe surprisingly flew from a coastal bush, splashed into the 
sea, either to drink or bathe, and returned to its perch. A young Purple 
Gallinule took in moisture with the damp food put out for it, and may also 
have drunk while bathing. 

One Least Bittern, 6 Barn Swallows, one Cliff Swallow and one Wilson's 
Warbler were found in a dead or dying condition. 

Midges appeared to be very common on the island, as were house flies 
{Musca sp.) near the human habitation. More than one Eastern Phoebe 
appeared to make a satisfactory living near the lighthouse keeper's kitchen, 
feeding, no doubt, on insects. 

The abundance and variety of other insects observed were such as strongly 
to suggest migratory movement. Seven or 8 species of Lepidoptera were 
noted, as were 4-5 species of dragonflies (Odonata), one of lacewing (prob- 
ably of the Order Planipennia), at least one species of grasshopper (Acridi- 
dae), and a number of other smaller fly-like unidentified insects. A Black-and 
White Warbler was seen immobilising an off-white moth, but the extent to 
which migrant birds generally benefit from migrant insects is a matter for 

In their review of the birds of the Gulf of Mexico, Lowery & Newman 
(1954) used 3 species-categories: off-shore birds, birds of the coast and land 
birds over the open Gulf. 

At Alacran 4 off-shore species have so far been observed and they all 
breed there, namely the Brown Booby, Blue-faced Booby, Sooty Tern and 
Noddy Tern. Four coastal species also breed at Alacran: the Magnificent 
Frigatebird, Laughing Gull, Royal Tern and Sandwich Tern. Non-breeding 
coastal species that have occurred at Alacran on migration or as a result of 
post-nesting dispersal number about 17 species. No land birds are known to 
have bred at Alacran, but land birds seen on migration total about 36 species. 
The apparent absence of nesting land birds is probably attributable not only 
to the island's very small area (Hamilton et a/. 1964), but also to the paucity 
of habitats, absence of a reliable water supply and distance from the mainland. 
The nearest mainland is Yucatan, a peninsula, and thus offering fewer 
species as colonists than a mass of mainland (MacArthur & Wilson 1967: 

In regard to migrant land birds, taking the Gulf as a whole, Lowery & 
Newman (1954), summarising all records up to autumn 195 1, had autumn 
records of only 1 3 land bird species over the waters of the Gulf at distances 
of a mile or more from the nearest coast. None was from islands. Paynter's 
1952 early autumn cruise round the Campeche Bank added as many as 23 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 108 

species, Siebenaler (1954) added 11, and my own observations from Isla 
Perez add a further 9 species. Thus 56 species of land bird have now been 
seen in autumn either over the open Gulf or on offshore Gulf islands, 
though in spring 61 species have been seen (Lowery & Newman 1954). 
Paynter (1953) thought that his observations on the Campeche Bank pointed 
towards regular autumnal trans-Gulf migration being normal and G. H. 
Lowery tells me he has many 'data on the arrival in Yucatan in fall of large 
flights from the open Gulf\ In any case southward migration across the 
Gulf was never disputed as strongly as spring movements northward 
(Williams 1945), and it is now clear that nearly all migrants are capable of 
trans-Gulf migration at either season, though the detailed pattern has yet 
to be clarified. 

Acknowledgements: The British Vice-Consul in Merida, Major Alfred Dutton, was 
immensely helpful to us. Most of the data collected provided factual background for the 
wildlife film being made on the island for the BBC, to whom acknowledgement is made. 
My companions, Douglas Fisher, Donaldo Maclver, and Claude Lamprecht, helped with 
the observations, but the responsibility for the field identifications is entirely my own. 
Sheila Fullom kindly translated part of Marion (1884). Early drafts were helpfully commen- 
ted upon by Raymond A. Paynter Jr., Allan R. Phillips, David Wingate, and particularly 
by George H. Lowery Jr. James Monk drastically re-arranged (and improved) the pen- 
ultimate draft. Robin Prytherch drew the maps. 

References : 

Anon. 1 941 West Indies Pilot. Vol. 1. Hydrographic Dept., Admiralty: London. 

Anon. 1963. Alacran Reef. Atoll Res. Bull. 84: 6-9. 

Barnett, E. 1848. Coast of Yucatan and the Campeche Bank. (Revised 1974.) Hydrographic 

Office, Admiralty: London. 
Boswall, J. & Fisher, D. 1976. Wildlife Safari to Mexico: to the Scorpion Reef. One 25 min, 

16 mm colour film, BBC, London. 
Dampier, W. 1699. Voyages and Descriptions, Vol. 2, Pt. 2: Two Voyages to Campeachy. James 

Knapton: London. 
Fosberg, F. R. 1962. A brief survey of the cays of Arrecife Alacran, a Mexican atoll. Atoll 

Res. Bull. 93: 15-25. 
Hamilton, T. H., Barth, K. & RubinofF, I. 1964. The environmental control of insular 

variation in bird species abundance. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 52: 132-140. 
Kennedy, J. N. 1917. A little-known bird colony in the Gulf of Mexico. Ibis Ser. 10 (5): 

Kornicker, L. S. et al. 1959. Alacran Reef, Campeche Bank, Mexico. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. 

Univ. Texas 6: 1-22, large scale map. 
Kornicker, L. S. & Boyd, D. W. 1962. Shallow-water geology and environments of 

Alacran Reef complex, Campeche Bank, Mexico. Bull. Am. Ass. Petroleum Geologists 

46 (5): 640-673. 
Lowery, G. H. & Newman, R. J. 1954. The Birds of the Gulf of Mexico. In Gulf of Mexico: 

its Origin, Waters, and Marine Life. Fishery Bull. 89, Fishery Bull. Fish and Wildlife 

Service, Vol. 55: 519-540. 
MacArthur, R. H. & Wilson, E. O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton Univ. 

Marion, Dr. 1884. Excursion aux Isles Alacrans. Soc. Acad. Brest Bull. 2nd ser. 9: 5-21. 
Millspaugh, C. G. 1916. Vegetation of the Alacran Reef. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Pub. 187 

Bot. Ser. 2(11): 421-431. 
Palmer, R. S. 1962. Handbook of North American Birds. Yale Univ. Press: New Haven. 
Paynter, R. A. 1953. Autumnal migrants on the Campeche Bank. Auk 70: 338-349. 
Paynter, R. A. 1955. The ornithogeography of the Yucatan Peninsula. Peabody Mus. Nat. 

Hist. Bull. 9. 
Siebenaler, J. B. 1954. Notes on autumnal trans-Gulf migration of Birds. Condor 56: 43-48. 
Smith, T. 1838. Description of Alacran and Cay Arenas, in the Gulf of Mexico. Nautical 

Mag. 7: 804-805. 
Williams, G. 1945. Do birds cross the Gulf of Mexico in spring? Auk 62: 98-111. 

io 9 [Bull. B.O.C. i 97 8: 98(3)] 

Postscript : 

After the above paper had been typeset, Byrd {in Sprunt et al. 1978. Nat. Audubon Soc. 
N.Y.) reported a juvenile Cattle Egret Bitbulcus ibis, colour ringed in Virginia and recovered 
at sea in the Gulf of Mexico c. 100 km south of the coast of Louisiana in the direction of 
Yucatan. This observation and my own at Alacran appear to show that at least some Cattle 
Egrets (a species absent from much of the United States during winter) make direct trans- 
Gulf nights to Mexico, this being one of 3 possible routes discussed by Byrd. 

Address: Natural History Unit, BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR, England. 

A new race of Pitta oatesi from Peninsular Malaysia 

by Ben King 

Received 2 February 1978 
In April 1977, I spent six days on Fraser's Hill in the mountains of western 
Pahang trying to find a pitta that had been reported intermittently over a 
period of 29 years, but had never been identified. 

The first records of a pitta, apparently resident in the Malaysian mountains, 
are those of Bromley (1952) who saw and heard birds which he thought were 
Giant Pittas Pitta caerulea on Fraser's Hill in August 1948, and heard similar 
calls at Maxwell's Hill, Perak state, on 29 April 1950. A further sighting, 
also attributed to caerulea, was reported from Fraser's Hill by Allen (1959). 
At the same locality on 31 May 1969, Graham Madge, David Wells and Ken 
Scriven tape-recorded calls similar to that described by Bromley. No bird 
was seen but on the following day near the same spot, Wells saw a brown 
pitta with green back and shining blue rump. Subsequently Madge saw a 
similar bird. 

I started my search in late afternoon on 3 April by playing a copy of the 
tape made in 1969 by Ken Scriven. One bird replied. Next morning I walked 
a trail for about one km and got responses to the tape from 3 different birds. 
I got only brief shadowy glimpses of 2 birds and saw even less of them on 
the next 2 days. Finally on the morning of 7 April, I flushed one from a 
perch about 3 m up in a palm tree. The perch proved to be the pitta's nest. 
I stayed nearby and recorded various notes of the bird but did not get a 
look at it on the ground. 

I notified Bernard Bond and Julian Perry who arrived that evening. At 
dawn we set a mist net across the bird's flight route from the nest. Later we 
flushed the bird into the net and collected the nest with its 2 eggs. The bird 
proved to be the Rusty-naped Pitta Pitta oatesi. 

Pitta oatesi is a large pitta (total length 2 5 cm) found in Burma, Thailand 
and Indochina. The head and underparts are brownish with a black line 
behind the eye. The mantle to tail is dull greenish, sometimes with a bluish 
tinge on the rump. The species is currently divided into 3 subspecies (Mayr, 
in manuscript): P. 0. oatesi (Hume 1873), Burma (including Tenasserim), 
northwestern Thailand and northern Laos; P. 0. castaneiceps (Delacour & 
Jabouille 1930), south Yunnan and Vietnam; P. 0. bolovenensis (Delacour 
1932), Bolovens Plateau of southern Laos. I examined 46 specimens from the 
collections of the American Museum of Natural History and the United 
States National Museum: 25 of nominate oatesi, 16 of castaneiceps and 5 of 
bolovenensis. There is considerable individual variation and some sexual 
dimorphism which appears not to have been described in the literature. My 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] no 

sample size precluded attempting this task. However, the sample was ade- 
quate to show that while the differences between the three known races are 
adequate to maintain their status as subspecies, those differences are neverthe- 
less small. 

The new pitta is separated from the nearest known population of nominate 
oatesi in Tenasserim (Hume & Davison 1878) by at least 650 km. Since 
Pitta oatesi is found from 900-1,800 m elevation, it is likely that a real gap 
exists in the narrow central part of the Malay Peninsula (i.e. in southern 
peninsular Thailand) as there are long distances there where the spinal ridge 
is below 900 m. 

The Malaysian bird is similar in pattern to Pitta oatesi and obviously 
related, but differs from the other 3 races in being much darker overall. 
The Main Range of Peninsular Malaysia is more perennially humid than the 
rest of the range of P. oatesi and this may account for the greater colour 
saturation. The Malaysian bird's call is seemingly different from the 'melo- 
dius bong-bong described by Deignan (1945) for P. 0. oatesi in northwestern 
Thailand. Playback experiments in Thailand with the Malaysian tapes may 
provide some clues. For the present the Malaysian bird is best maintained as 
a race of Pitta oatesi and is named as follows : 

Pitta oatesi deborah subsp. nov. 

Type: Adult male; British Museum (Natural History) No. 1978.1.1. 
Fraser's Hill, Ulu Tranum Forest Reserve, Main Range, Pahang, Peninsular 
Malaysia; 3 43' N, 101 44' E, elevation approximately 1,200 m; 8 April 
1977; collected by Ben King, Bernard Bond and Julian Perry; original 
number Ben King 2897. 

Diagnosis: differs from males of P. 0. oatesi in its much darker, more rufes- 
cent head, nape and sides of neck (dark rufescent brown as opposed to 
fulvous-brown with a rusty tinge); darker green mantle and upperside of 
tail (dark grass green, rather than dull green with a coppery tinge, the copper 
especially strong on the upper wing coverts — some individuals of oatesi 
have a coppery brown mantle with a dull green tinge) ; more intense, darker, 
shining blue rump and upper tail coverts (rather than dull green with a 
slight to strong tinge of paler, sky blue on rump only) ; lack of black on 
centre of feathers of mantle (a variable character, often completely missing 
on oatesi and apparently not related to sex) ; dark green outer webs of second- 
aries and tertiaries, with a narrow edging of dark buffy brown (rather than 
dull green with fulvous edging); darker, blacker primaries with narrow 
fulvous edging on outer web (rather than blackish brown inner web and 
dark olive-brown outer web); darker, browner underparts with a strong 
pink suffusion, most feathers broadly tipped pink, grading into the colour 
of the main part of the feather. The breast of deborah is rufescent brown, 
grading into olive-brown flanks, whitish centre of throat and tawny centre 
of belly and under tail coverts (males of oatesi have fulvous-brown breast 
and flanks, grading to whitish centre of throat and tawny belly and under 
tail coverts, the pink tinge faint or absent, and restricted to throat and 
breast). In common with P. oatesi, deborah has the dusky loral patch; black 
band extending behind eye (about 2 • 5 cm) ; lengthened, barbless shafts (up 
to 7 mm beyond feather tip) of the throat feathers; narrow white area at 
base of primaries underneath; wing lining consisting of rusty brown lesser 

1 1 1 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

and median coverts, rusty buff inner to burry white outer greater coverts, 
and blackish primary coverts. 

P. 0. bolovenensis differs from nominate oatesi in its more rufescent head, 
greener mantle and stronger blue rump and often upper tail coverts and is 
thus somewhat closer to deborah. However, deborah is noticeably darker than 
bolovenensis in all these characteristics. Underparts of bolovenensis are like 
oatesi. Male castaneiceps differs from oatesi in being slightly darker in all 
aspects, but like bolovenensis is closer to oatesi than deborah. 

P. 0. deborah appears to be somewhat smaller than the other races of Pitta 
oatesi, with an unflattened wing measurement of 107-5 mm (7 males of 
oatesi ranged from 112- 6- 122-7 mm, mean 116-3 mm > 9 males of castaneiceps 
ranged from 112-7-119-2 mm, mean 117-4 mm; 2 males of bolovenensis 
measured 114-9 mm anc ^ 117*2 mm). 

Colour of soft parts: Irides dark brown; bill black, narrowly tipped horn; 
feet brownish flesh; claws horn. 

Measurements: Unflattened wing 107-5 mm; flattened wing 111-4 mm; 
tail 5 8 mm ; exposed culmen 27 mm ; gape 3 5 mm ; tarsus 5 4 mm ; weight 1 1 6 g. 

The new pitta is named for my close friend Miss Deborah Bodner. 


The locality is in tropical evergreen forest of the Lower Montane Rain 
Forest type (Whitmore & Burnham 1969). All three calling pittas were on 
very steep slopes, where the canopy was 10-20 m high and ground cover 
moderate to dense. 

Nest and Eggs 

The nest site was about 3 metres up in the base of a leaf axil of a large palm. 
The tree was about 40 cm in diameter at nest level and was not identified. 
The nest was globular, slightly flattened from top to bottom, about 220 mm 
across by 180 mm high. It was constructed mostly of layers of dead leaves 
and leaf-skeletons of various broad-leafed trees, plus some palm leaflets, 
dead fern stems, a few woody rootlets and in the base some sticks up to 
5 mm thick. A moderate lining in the lower half of the nest chamber con- 
sisted entirely of black plant fibre, possibly from palms, and some fungal 
hyphae. The nest chamber measured 130 mm front to back and the entrance, 
which tilted up 20 from the horizontal, 85 mm across by 5 5 mm from top 
to bottom. 

There were 2 eggs, measuring 29- 3 x 25 -o mm and 30- 5 x 25 • 3 mm., the 
former containing an advanced embryo, the latter addled. They were slightly 
glossed white with masked purple-brown speckles over the broad end and 
irregularly shaped chestnut-red speckles fairly dense on the broad end, 
rather sparse elsewhere. These data compare with 2 possible pitta eggs 
collected by Allen (1953) from a dead-leaf nest which had collapsed on the 
ground near the site of the present nest. Those eggs were white, the large 
end fairly heavily spotted with dark brown and purple; 32 X 24- 5 mm and 
31 X 25 -4 mm. 

Habits, field marks and voice 

The pittas were extremely shy, never allowing more than a glimpse of a 
shadow on the ground. The only good views I got in the field were of the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 1 1 2 

head of one bird while it was incubating eggs, and several good but brief 
looks as it flew from its nest. They responded readily to playback of their 
call and moved closer to the call, but remained well hidden while doing so. 
The netted bird actually responded to taped calls while incubating. 

In flight, the blue rump and upper tail coverts are quite conspicuous, con- 
trasting sharply with the green mantle. Once, in a poor glimpse, the only 
colour I saw was this blue (which may account for reports of blue-backed 
pittas in this area). In the hand, there is a little white at the base of the under- 
side of the outer primaries, but this was not noticed in the field. 

The call-note is a loud melodious teew-what' or chew-whaa\ the first note 
inflected downward, the second note higher and more emphatic. The alarm- 
note heard when I was in the vicinity of the nest was a loud, emphatic, wood- 
pecker-like, metallic check or week, sometimes run into a rattle when highly 
agitated, e.g. just after being flushed from its nest. It also uttered a soft, burry, 
but somewhat musical churr, chur-r-r-r-rt, tur-r-r-r-rt, or wer-r-r-r-rt when I 
was near the nest and it was nearby on the ground. All the above calls, except 
the rattle, were taped and are on deposit at the Laboratory of Ornithology 
at Cornell University. 

Acknowledgements : Dr. David Wells of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, was very 
helpful in the drafting of the manuscript and kindly prepared the specimen. Bernard Bond 
and Julian Perry helped collect the pitta. Ken Scriven provided the tape-recording of the 
pitta's voice that I used to locate the bird, and was helpful in other ways. Dennis Yong was 
my gracious host in Kuala Lumpur. Dr. Ernst Mayr kindly sent me a copy of his draft 
manuscript of Pitta oatesi for a forthcoming volume of Peters' 'Check-list of Birds of the 
World'. Dr. Dean Amadon, Dr. Eugene Eisenmann, John Farrand, Dr. Kenneth C. Parkes, 
Dr. Lester L. Short and Dr. Francois Vuilleumier made helpful suggestions on the manu- 
script. I wish to thank the staffs of the American Museum of Natural History in New York 
and the United States National Museum for use of their specimens of Pitta oatesi. 

Postscript. A statement by W. R. Davison (Stray Feathers (1878) 6: 238) casts doubt on 
the circumstantial attribution of a 'melodious bong-bong call to Pitta 0. oatesi by Deignan 
(Bull. U.S. Natn. Mus. (1945) 186: 264) in northern Thailand. The same race occurs in 
Burma where Davison, who collected many specimens of both P. oatesi and P. cyanea, found 
its call indistinguishable from that of the latter. King et al. (A Field Guide to the Birds of 
Southeast Asia (1975): 242) give the call of P. cyanea as '# choooo-wit\ the second note drawn 
out, at first descending and then rising in pitch; the last note sharp'. Apart from the initial 
syllable this reasonably resembles the advertising call of the newly described Pitta oatesi 
deborah — here independently verbalised as tyaw-ivhek y the second note briefer, higher- 
pitched and emphatic. By inference the calls of P. 0. deborah and P. 0. oatesi should be at least 
as similar. 
20 February D. R. Wells, Zoology Dept. University of Malaya, 

Kuala Lumpur 22-11, Malaysia. 

I believe Dr. Wells is correct. In February 1978, I taped Pitta nipalensis in Asssam. Its 
call is quite like Pitta oatesi deborah. Baker ('Fauna of British India', Vol. 3 : 447) states of 
Pitta oatesi 'It has the same beautiful loud double whistle' as Pitta nipalensis. Thus I believe I 
Deignan either described the call (melodious bong-bong) poorly or attributed it to the wrong j 
species. The bong-bong could well be Otus spilocephalus or an Arborophila partridge. 

B. K. ! 

References : 

Allen, F. G. H. 1953. Further notes on birds nesting at Fraser's Hill. Malay. Natur. J. 8: 

— 1959. Notes on two rare birds. Malay. Natur. J. 14: 37. 
Bromley, E. H. 1952. A note on birds seen at Maxwell's Hill, Perak, April 1950 and j 

February 195 1. Bull. Raffles Mus. 24: 199-218. 
Deignan, H. G. 1945. The Birds of Northern Thailand. Smithsonian Inst: Washington. 
Delacour, J. 1932. Etude systematique de quelques oiseaux noveaux ou interessants obtenus 

par la VI C Expedition en Indochine. UOiseaux 2 (3): 419-438. 

ii3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 

Delacour, J. & Jabouille, P. 1930. Description de tr ente Oiseaux de l'lndochine Francaise. 

L' Oiseaux II (7): 393-408. 
— 1940. Liste des oiseaux de l'lndochine Francaise, completee et mise a jour. 

U Oiseaux 10 (1 & 2): 89-220. 
Hume, A. O. 1873. Hydrornis oatesi sp. nov. Stray Feathers 1 (6): 477-478. 
Hume, A. O. & Davison, W. 1878. A revised list of the birds of Tenasserim. Stray Feathers 

6 (1-6): 237. 
Mayr, E. (In manuscript). Family Pittidae. In J. L. Peters, Check-list of Birds of the World. 

Vol. 8. 
Wells, D. R. & Lord Medway. 1976. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. 5. H. F. & G. 

Witherby: London. 
Whitmore, T. C. & Burnham, C. P. 1969. The altitudinal sequence of forests and soils on 

granite near Kuala Lumpur. Malay Natur. f. 22: 99-118. 

Address: c/o Ornithology Dept. American Museum of Natural History, 79th St. at Central 
Park West, New York, N.Y. 10024, U.S.A. 


First record of Black-headed Gull Larus ridihundus and 

third record of Herring Gull Icarus argentatus for 

South America 

On 3 October 1976 I identified an adult Black-headed Gull Larus ridihundus 
amongst a flock of Laughing Gulls Larus atricilla on the foreshore at Pointe- 
a-Pierre on the west coast of Trinidad, and another adult L. ridihundus flew 
in soon afterwards to join the flock. The birds were also seen by R. P. 
ffrench, D. C. Gilbert and R. A. Harding. These are the first records of 
L. ridihundus for South America (Meyer de Schauensee 1970 and pers. 
comm.). The species has been recorded in the Caribbean, particularly on 
Barbados, several times however, so it may occur more regularly in South 
America and has probably been overlooked. 

In the same gull flock on the same day there was also a first-year Herring 
Gull Larus argentatus which was only the second record for Trinidad (see 
ffrench 1973). The only other certain record of the species off South America 
is one on the Isla de Aves (15 42' N, 83 40' W) (Meyer de Schauensee 
pers. comm.). 

Attention should clearly be paid to gull flocks wherever they occur 
throughout the world, since unexpected species alien to each area may 
frequently be missed. Wandering of birds in this family must surely be of 
widespread occurrence. 

21 January 1978 David J. Fisher 

References : 

ffrench, R. P. 1973. A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Wynnewood: Livingston 
Publishing Company. 

Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1970. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Wynnewood: Living- 
ston Publishing Company. 

Address: c/o R.S.P.B., The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, England. 

A hybrid Hirundo rustica x Delichon urbica in Zambia 

On 17 December 1974 I caught a hybrid swallow while ringing hirundines 
at a roost near Choma in southern Zambia. It shows characters of both 
the European Swallow Hirundo rustica and House Martin Delichon urbica, and 
resembles closely one reported from southern England by Charlwood 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(3)] 114 

{Brit. Birds (1973) 66: 398-400, Plate 60a). The specimen is in the Living- 
stone Museum. 

Some 16 putative hybrids between these 2 species have now been reported, 
from western Europe to Japan, but this appears to be the first recognised 
in Africa. 

During November and December 1974 I caught 10,250 European 
Swallows at the Choma roost, but only a single House Martin, which species 
was very scarce in the area. Clearly, this hybrid was travelling with European 
Swallows. The breeding areas of European Swallows ringed at Choma are 
western Russia (11 recoveries), Poland (6) and elsewhere in western Europe 
(6). Most birds in the roost are on passage to wintering grounds further 
south, and 2 have been recovered in South Africa. 

26 January 1978. R. J. Dowsett. 

Address: Livingstone Museum, P.O. Box 498, Livingstone, Zambia. 

Occurrence of Javan Little Tern Sterna albifrons sinensis 

in West Africa 

While gathering data for a check list of the birds of Ghana, I had my attention 
drawn by C. M. N. White to a statement in Serventy, Serventy & Warham 
(197 1, The Handbook oj Australian Sea Birds') of a Little Tern Sterna albifrons 
ringed as a fledgling in Java on 3.^.1949 and recovered on 4.xii.i95 2 at 
Denu in Ghana. Because of the interest of the record it seems worthwhile 
making it more accessible for others. No documentation of the record was 
given by Serventy et aL {loc. at.) and no mention of it is made in Mackworth- 
Praed & Grant (1970, Birds of West Central and Western Africa, Vol. 1). 
Correspondence with R. Spencer (Tring) and B. J. Speek (Arnhem) confirms 
the accuracy of the record and the latter is "absolutely sure that the recovery 
is correct" and that there is no possibility of it being a duplicate ring or one 
being used out of sequence. The ring (Leiden No. D57500) was returned to 
Leiden in a letter dated 4.x. 195 4 and sent by the Ministry of Agriculture, 
Accra. The details appear in The Ring (7: 144) and the only correction to the 
statement by Serventy et al. (Joe. cit.) is that the date of ringing was 20 March, 
not 3 March. 

1 April 1978. L. G. Grimes. 

Address: Rossall School, Fleetwood, Lanes. 


Wagstaffe, R. 1978. Type Specimens of Birds in the Merseyside County Museums. Pp. 33, PL 2. 
Merseyside County Museums, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN. £2.oo+postage 
and packing. 

The many type specimens in the Liverpool Collection are listed for the first time. Material 
from islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans is specially well represented and includes such 
important specimens as the unique types of Aegotheles savesi and Necropsar leguati. 

Hardy, Eric. 1978. A Guide to the Birds of Scotland. Pp. 1-132, many maps and photographs. 
Constable: London. £3.95. 

A useful and knowledgeable visitors' 'guide to modern bird haunts' in thick pocket size, 
indicating accurately how to reach and obtain permission to visit almost anywhere in 
Scotland for interesting birds, surprisingly without providing too much overt help to 
marauders of rare species. The distracting parenthetic insertion of equivalent measures in 
metric or otherwise must have added some 10 unnecessary pages to the text. Well produced 
at the price. 



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Published by the BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB and printed by 
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ISSN 0007-1595 

Bulletin of the 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 98 No. 4 

December 1 978 


Tuesday 9 January 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, South Side, 
Imperial College (entrance on the south side of Prince's Gardens, S.W.7, off Exhibition 
Road), Mr. J. H. R. Boswall on Mutual Mimics, men as birds and birds as men — an ornithological 
frolic. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.80 a person together with their 
acceptance to Mrs. Diana Bradley, 53, Osterley Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, to arrive not 
later than first post on Thursday 4 January 1 979. (A slip for this meeting was enclosed in 
the last number of the Bulletin.) 

Tuesday 6 March 1979 at the Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial College, 
Prince's Gardens, S.W.7, Mr. M. D. England, o.b.e., on The birds of the Seychelles group of 
islands, illustrated with his slides. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.80 
a person together with their acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mrs. Diana Bradley, 53, 
Osterley Road, Isleworth, Middlesex, to arrive not later than first post on Thursday 1 

Tuesday ij May 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m., Dr. B. Stonehouse on Penguins and loss of 
flight in birds. 

No liability is accepted for any damage, injury or loss suffered by any person in 
connection with attendance at a Club meeting. 


P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chair man) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) B. Gray 

C. E. Wheeler P. J. Oliver 

C. F. Mann 

j 1 5 [Bull. B.O.C. ifjS: 98(4)] 

Bulletin of the 


Vol. 98 No. 4 Published: 20 December 1978 

The seven hundred and fourteenth meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday 19 September 1978, at 
7. p.m. 

Chairman: Dr. J. F. Monk: present 19 members and 7 guests. 

Sir Hugh Elliott, bt., o.b.e. spoke on some problems of the heron family and illustrated 
his address with slides, both of photographs of heron species and of recent paintings of 

He pointed out that in the case of a surprisingly large proportion of these species, 1 8 
out of a total of 61, there was little known and that no nests had been found of three — 
Fasciated Tiger Heron Tigrisoma fasciatum, Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus and White- 
eared Night Heron Gorsachius magnificus. He gave information about these 18 species and 
explained reasons for them being still so substantially unknown. Among other problems, 
he discussed the very slow attainment of full adult plumage in South American tiger herons 
and canopy forming by the Black Heron Egret ta ardesiaca for feeding. 

Notes on the Rufous-capped Thornbill Chalcostigma 
ruficeps y a new hummingbird species for Colombia 

by Karl-L. Schuchmann 

Received 1 July 1978 

During a field study of hummingbirds of the Cauca Valley and the western 
Andes near Cali, Colombia, 2 specimens of the Rufous-capped Thornbill 
Chalcostigma ruficeps were observed during March 1977 in the Paramo zone 
at Pan Azucar (elevation 3800 m). According to de Schauensee (1970) 
the northern geographic limit of this species does not extend beyond the 
Andes of southeastern Ecuador and the species is unrecorded in Colombia. 
At present, little information is available on hummingbirds restricted to the 
upper temperate zone, so that it is impossible to judge whether C. ruficeps 
is a migrant or a resident species in Colombia. 

Both individuals, one of which was trapped (skin deposited in the Sencken- 
berg Museum), collected nectar from blossoms of Fuchsia canescens (Oenan- 
theraceae). Hovering for food was rarely seen; clutching the infloresence 
was the most common feeding technique observed. Corolla slits pierced by- 
Glossy Flower-piercers Diglossa lafresnayii were often used to reach nectar 
normally inaccessible in such types of flower. 

With regard to the taxonomic status of C. ruficeps there is still much un- 
certainty. Peters (1945) included it in the genus Metallura, whereas Zimmer 
(1952) and de Schauensee (1970) placed it in the Chalcostigma group. Accord- 
ing to my own rather fragmentary observations, the Rufous-capped Thorn- 
bill, with its butterfly-like flight and soft trilling song, is more like the 
Metaltails {Metal lura) than the thornbills {Chalcostigma). Comparative 
observations were made in the field and laboratory on the Fire-throated 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 


Metaltail Metailura eupogon, the Tyrian Metaltail Metallura tyrianthina, the 
Bronze-tailed Thornbill Chalcostigma heteropogon and the Rainbow-bearded 
Thornbill Chalcostigma herrani (Schuchmann pers. obs.). 

References : 

De Schauensee, R. M. 1970. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Livingston: Pennsylvania. 
Peters, J. L. 1945. Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. V. Harvard Univ. Press: Cambridge. 
Zimmer, J. T. 1952. Studies of Peruvian birds: 62. Amer. Mus. Novi tales 1595. 

Address: K.-L. Schuchmann, Zoological Institute, University of Frankfurt, Siesmayerstr. 
70, 6000 Frankfurt/M., West Germany. 

Further notes on Lophophorus sclateri 
by G. W. H. Davison 

Received 9 June 1978 

The eastern population of the pheasant Lophophorus sclateri has been described 
as a new subspecies (Davison 1974). Further examination of the small series 
of skins in the British Museum (Natural History) has shown more characters 
which appear to vary in an east-west fashion. The skins examined were 
from Pachakshiri, Lo La and Pome in southeast Tibet (5 males and 3 
females) in the west of the species' range, from Yunnan and north Burma 
(5 males and 3 females) in the east, and 2 males from the intermediate locality 
of Mishmi Hills, Arunachal Pradesh. 













— r 




Longitude (°E) 

Fig. 1. Variation with longitude in the width of the terminal white tail band of male 
Lophophorus sclateri. The points show the mean tail band width, the vertical bars the range. 

ii7 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

The description of L. s. orientalis emphasized the narrowness of the termin- 
al white tail band in eastern males. Fig. 1 shows that the tail band width 
decreases sharply east of 97 E. It is not known whether this change corres- 
ponds with a change in habitat, but it does coincide with the eastern limit 
(Yin 1970) to the distribution of L. impejanus. Only western and Mishmi 
populations of L. sclateri overlap with this congener. In the region of overlap 
the 2 species are found in close proximity (Ludlow 195 1). In all the members 
of this genus the tail pattern is conspicuous in display (see, for example, 
Schenkel 1956), and the greater width and conspicuousness of the white tail 
band in western L. sclateri may increase the distinctness of the 2 species' 
displays where the possibility of hybridization exists. 

The iridescent green crown feathers of males are strongly recurved (Dela- 
cour 195 1) and this gives the crown a woolly appearance. In 5 western males 
curvature of the crown feathers was very strong, from ioo° to 180 or a full 
semicircle. The crown feathers of 2 Mishmi Hills males were similar. In 3 
eastern males the crown feathers had a curvature of only up to 30 , in a 
fourth up to 40 , and in a fifth up to 6o°. This variation was not seasonal, nor 
was it due to abrasion of the feathers which were of similar length in all 

Four western males had the chin and throat entirely black, while the fifth, 
completing the moult from subadult to adult plumage, had a tiny centrally 
placed white bar on one or two feathers behind and below the gape on each 
side. Two Mishmi Hills males had the chin and throat entirely black. Of the 
5 eastern males only one had the chin and throat entirely black, and 4 had at 
least a few white marks at the centre or sides of the chin. Four western males 
had entirely black thighs while the fifth had some pale buff vermiculations : 
4 eastern males had entirely black thighs and the fifth some dark brown 
vermiculations. Both Mishmi Hills males had entirely black thighs. 

Four fully adult western males had fulvous feather tips and some wholly 
fulvous feathers in the centre of the belly. The fifth, completing the moult 
into fully adult plumage, had the belly entirely black, as did the 2 Mishmi 
Hills males and all 5 eastern males. The black ventral surface in male Lopho- 
phorus is of significance in territorial displays between males (Harrison 1971): 
as with the white tail band, fulvous feathers in western L. sclateri may in- 
crease the distinctness of its displays from those of L. impejanus in the region 
of overlap. 

Three western females had a slight fulvous tinge to the centre of the belly 
which was absent from the eastern females. Western females were all very 
similar, with dark underparts narrowly vermiculated and with dark rufous 
wing coverts. Eastern females were more variable, with generally paler 
plumage, and broader vermiculations on the underparts, rump and upper 
tail-coverts, and less richly coloured wing coverts. 

Though both male and female L. sclateri vary in an east-west direction, 
the causative factors may not be the same for the 2 sexes. Western birds (in 
southeast Tibet) live in an area with much higher rainfall than do eastern 
ones (Vaurie 1972). This climatic difference may have influenced the plumage 
colour of the females. 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to the authorities of the British Museum (Natural 
History) for permission to examine the skins. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 118 

References : 

Davison, G. W. H. 1974. Geographical variation in Lophophorus sclateri. Bull. Br. Orn. CI. 

94: 163-164. 
Delacour, J. 195 1. Pheasants of the World. Country Life, London. 
Harrison, C. J. O. 1971. Frontal pattern and wing whirring in some pheasant species. 

Pheasant Trust Ann. Rep. 1970: 15-16. 
Ludlow, F. 195 1. The birds of Kongbo and Pome, southeast Tibet. Ibis 93: 547-578. 
Schenkel, R. 1956. Zur Deutung der Balzleistungen einiger Phasianiden und Tetraoniden. 

Orn. Beobachter 53: 182-201. 
Vaurie, C. 1972. Tibet and its Birds. Witherby, London. 
Yin, U Tun. 1970. Record of the Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus (Latham) in 

Burma./. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 67: 328-330. 

Address: G. W. H. Davison, Dept. of Wildlife and National Parks, Block K20, Jalan 
Duta, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

The onset of prebasic body moult during the breeding 
season in some high- Arctic waders 

by P. N. Ferns 

Received 21 April ip/S 
Wading birds nesting in the Arctic have 4 alternative schedules of prebasic 
(postnuptial) moult. Some species undergo a relatively rapid moult at, or hear, 
the breeding grounds (Holmes 1966, Bengston 1975), while others embark 
on a more leisurely moult after migrating south (Soikkeli 1967, Holmes 1971, 
Nieboer 1972). Intermediate schedules also occur, in which prebasic moult 
is started near the breeding grounds, and is then either suspended or contin- 
ued during the southerly migration (Holmes 1972, Pienkowski et al. 1976). 
During the 1974 Joint Biological Expedition to N.E. Greenland (25 June- 
31 August), 4 species of adult wading birds were captured during the late 
stages of incubation or after the hatching of their young. These birds were 
examined thoroughly for any traces of moult and information was also 
recorded on the refeathering of the incubation patches. In the absence of 
museum specimens showing moult of the remiges or retrices it had previous- 
ly been assumed that all these species underwent the whole of the prebasic 
moult at, or en route to, the wintering quarters. 

The species examined were Charadrius h. hiatkula, Arenaria i. interpres, 
Calidris alba and Calidris alpina arctica. They were captured between 2 5 June 
and 10 August in wire traps or small clap-nets, set over nests or young pulli, 
at 3 sites along the southwestern shores of Kong Oscars Fjord in N.E. 
Greenland (c 72°N). Most birds examined in detail were from Orsted Dal, the 
remainder coming from Mestersvig and Antarctics Havn. The extent of 
the moult in 4 regions of the body (coronal region of the capital tract, 
interscapular region of the dorsal tract, cervical and sternal regions of the 
ventral tract) was roughly quantified using a 5 point scale (all old=o, 
beginning of moult=io, middle of moult=2o, end of moult— 30, all new= 
40). This differs from the more complex scoring system used by Holmes 
(1966), but involves the same 4 regions of the body, and gives broadly com- 
parable results. In most cases the date of hatching of the eggs of each adult 
was known, but otherwise an estimate was made using the methods described 
by Green et al. (1977). 

ii9 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 


At Orsted Dal 4 out of 5 Ch. hiaticula and 6 out of 9 at Mestersvig showed 
some prebasic body moult (Fig. 1). The areas of the body involved were the 
throat, chest, breast, belly, flanks, crown, nape, mantle, back, rump, median 
and lesser upper wing-coverts, under tail-coverts and the innermost greater 
upper wing-covert, though not all in the same individual. The amount of 
body moult, when present, varied from a small amount on the crown, to the 
whole of the body plumage plus some wing-coverts. The overall average 
body moult score was 28, out of a possible maximum of 160. There was no 
significant difference between the moult scores of the sexes at either site, 
though in both cases the females had the higher scores. Overall, there was 
no significant correlation between moult score and date (r=o- 23, p>o- 10), 
or between moult score and the stage of the nesting cycle measured as days 
since hatching), although the latter approached significance (r=o-45, p = 
0-05-0-10). There was a large difference between the average scores at 
Orsted Dal (48) and Mestersvig (17) and this was significant (Mann- Whitney 







30 H 


* t 

9 9 

c/ o o 

— 1 1 — 1^—[ <f «"i ^ *V| r- 

5 10 15 20 25 30 5 


Fig. 1. Prebasic body moult scores of northeast Greenland waders in 1974. Open circles = 
Charadrius hiaticula at Mestersvig; closed circles —Ch. hiaticula at Orsted Dal; closed tri- 
angles =Calidris alba at all sites; open squares = Arenaria interpres at Orsted Dal. The sex 
of each bird is also indicated. For method of scoring see text. 

U-test, p=o-oi to 0-05). Most of this difference was no doubt due to the 
large disparity in the timing of breeding between the 2 sites — Ch. hiaticula 
at Mestersvig nesting on average 10 days later than at Orsted Dal (Green 
et al. 1977). The individual with the highest body moult score was a female 
at Orsted Dal accompanying a half grown chick on 27 July. The earliest 
date on which prebasic moult was recorded was 1 6 July and the earliest time 
in relation to the breeding cycle was 7 days before hatching. Two individuals, 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 120 

neither of them undergoing body moult, were replacing respectively one and 
3 tail feathers asymmetrically, presumably as a result of traumatic losses. 

Arenaria interpres. 

Of 8 A. interpres all of which were captured at Orsted Dal, 5 showed some 
prebasic body moult, ranging from a small amount on the undersides to an 
extensive moult of the spinal and ventral tracts. No moult was recorded on 
the head. The average moult score in these 8 birds was 24. This sample is too 
small for statistical analysis, but moult was more advanced in females (mean 
score 28) than in males (mean score 20), even though the latter were caught 
on average 11 days later in the nesting cycle. Moult scores of 40 and 50 were 
observed as early as 7 and 10 days before hatching, and the earliest date on 
which a moulting bird was caught was 10 July. There was a strong positive 
correlation between weight and moult score in this species (r=o-84, p = 
o-ooi to o- 010), perhaps because heavier birds were in better condition and 
were therefore able to undertake a more extensive moult. 

Calidris alba. 

All 4 of the C. alba examined in detail showed extensive prebasic body 
moult. The average score was 5 5 and the earliest date on which moulting 
was observed was 15 July (about 5 days before hatching). In 2 of the 3 
males examined, the rich brown feathers of the chest, which extend further 
ventrally than in females, had been almost completely replaced by the whitish 
feathers of the basic (winter) plumage. This probably explains why it became 
increasingly difficult to recognise males amongst the many adult birds 
observed in the field as the season progressed. 

Calidris alpina. 

None of the 11 C. alpina captured showed any trace of prebasic moult, but 
they were all captured close to the date when their eggs hatched. This species 
undergoes the whole of the prebasic moult on the breeding grounds in some 
regions (Holmes 1971), so it is particularly surprising that none was recorded 
in Greenland. 

In all adults captured whilst attending pulli, refeathering of their incubation 
patches had begun around the edges, and it had also started in some birds 
which were still incubating. The earliest example of refeathering was a 
female C. alba captured on eggs on 1 2 July, 5 days before hatching. A male 
C. alpina caught in a mist net on 10 August amongst a flock consisting 
predominantly of juveniles, had pin feathers covering the entire area of the 
incubation patches. Despite the early onset of brood patch refeathering, 
these waders continued to brood their young from time to time, especially 
during inclement weather, for 2 weeks or so after hatching. Refeathering of 
the incubation patches before hatching has also been reported in Anous 
minimus (Jones 1971) and Diomedea immutabilis (Fisher 1971). 


Over 70% of individuals other than C. alpina had started prebasic body 
moult. Furthermore, this moult was quantitatively significant in view of the 
fact that the body feathers constitute about 80 % of the total feather mass in 
waders (Holmes 1966). In A. interpres^ the average moult score (including 
those individuals not in moult) indicates that at least 12 % of the total feather 

121 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

mass was being replaced on the breeding grounds. The equivalent figures 
were 14% for Ch. hiaticula and 28 % for C. alba. Since C. alba nests earliest in 
this region, followed by A. interpres, Ch. hiaticula and C. alpina (Green et al. 
1 977) the extent of the prebasic moult appears to be related to the average 
timing of the breeding season in these species. The difference in moult 
between Ch. hiaticula at Orsted Dal and Mestersvig tends to confirm this. 

The early onset of prebasic body moult amongst species which undergo 
the major part of their moult elsewhere has been recorded at several other 
sites in the Arctic, though it has seldom been quantified. Parmelee & Mac- 
Donald (i960) found traces of moult in small numbers of A. interpres, 
C. canutus and C. alba on Ellesmere Island (c 8o° N). Parmelee et al. (1967) 
found traces of moult in Ch. semipalmatus, A. interpres, C. melanotus and 
Phalaropus fulicarius, together with extensive body moult in Tryngites subru- 
ficollis, on Victoria Island (c 69 N). C. bairdii had also started prebasic body 
moult at both of the above locations and on Baffin Island (c 69 N) (Wynne- 
Edwards 1952). Kistchinski (1975) recorded both prealternate (nuptial) and 
prebasic body moult in P. fulicarius on the breeding grounds in Siberia 
(c 70 N). C. ruficollis and C. ferruginea arrive at wintering quarters in Tas- 
mania with arrested prebasic body moult showing that at least part of the 
moult occurs elsewhere, perhaps on the breeding grounds (Thomas & 
Dartnall 1971a, b). 47% of individuals of C. mauri in subarctic Alaska began 
prebasic body moult on the breeding grounds in June and reached an average 
score of 6 (maximum 40) before suspending for the southward migration, 
though adults associated with nests or young did not moult (Holmes 1972). 

In view of the wide range of species and geographical areas from which 
this type of moult has been reported, it may be of greater importance than 
previously suspected. It presumably allows birds to take advantage of favour- 
able feeding conditions towards the end of the breeding season and thereby 
reduces the amount of time spent at moulting areas further south. One 
curious feature of the prebasic body moult is that it starts in different parts 
of the body in different species. For example, in C. mauri the head is one of 
the first areas to start (Holmes 1972), whereas in C, maritima it is one of the 
last (Morrison 1976). In Greenland, the moult of the neck was particularly 
heavy in the early stages in both Ch. hiaticula and A. interpres, whilst the 
moult of the breast started early in C. alba. It may be significant that moult 
in these particular areas of the body tends to reduce the conspicuousness of 
the nuptial plumage. 

Acknowledgements : The Joint Biological Expedition is indebted to many individuals and 
organisations for financial and other support. These are fully acknowledged in the expedition 
report (Green & Greenwood 1977). I would like to thank M. W. Pienkowski, G. H. Green 
and J. J. D. Greenwood for their comments. 

References : 

Bengston, S.-A. 1975. Timing of the moult of the Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima in 

Spitzbergen. Ibis 117: 100-102. 
Fisher, H. I. 1971. The Laysan Albatross : its incubation, hatching, and associated behaviors. 

Living Bird 10: 19-78. 
Green, G. H. & Greenwood, J. J. D. (Eds.). 1978. Report of the Joint Biological Expedition 

to N.E. Greenland 1974. Dundee: Dundee University N.E. Greenland Expedition. 
Green, G. H., Greenwood, J. J. D. & Lloyd, C. S. 1977. The influence of snow conditions 

on the date of breeding of wading birds in north-east Greenland. /. Zool. Lond. 183 : 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 122 

Holmes, R. T. 1966. Molt cycle of the Red-backed Sandpiper {Calidris alpina) in Western 
North America. Auk 83: 517-533. 

— 1971- Latitudinal differences in the breeding and molt schedules of Alaskan Red-backed 
Sandpipers. Condor 73 : 93-99. 

— 1972. Ecological factors influencing the breeding season schedule of Western Sand- 
pipers {Calidris mauri) in subarctic Alaska. Amer. Midi. Nat. 87: 472-491. 

Jones, R. E. 1971. The incubation patch of birds. Biol. Rev. 46: 315-339. 

Kistchinski, A. A. 1975. Breeding biology and behaviour of the Grey Phalarope Phala- 

ropus fulicarius in east Siberia. Ibis 117: 285-301. 
Morrison, R. I. G. 1976. Moult of the Purple Sandpiper in Iceland. Ibis 118: 237-246. 
Nieboer, E. 1972. Preliminary notes on the primary moult in Dunlins Calidris alpina. Ardea 

60: 1 1 2-1 19. 
Parmelee, D. F. & MacDonald, S. D. i960. The birds of west-central Ellesmere Island and 

adjacent areas. Bull. Natn. Mus. Can. 169: 1-103. 
Parmelee, D. F., Stephens, H. A. & Schmidt, R. H. 1967. The birds of south-eastern Victoria 

Island and adjacent small islands. Bull. Natn. Mus. Can. zzi: 1-229. 
Pienkowski, M. W., Knight, P. J., Stanyard, D. J. & Argyle, F. B. 1976. The primary moult 

of waders on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Ibis 118: 347-365. 
Soikkeli, M. 1967. Breeding cycle and population dynamics in the Dunlin {Calidris alpina). 

Ann. Zool. Fenn. 4: 158-198. 
Thomas, D. G. & Dartnall, A. J. 1971a. Moult of the Red-necked Stint. Emu 7.1: 49-53. 

— 1971b. Moult of the Curlew Sandpiper in relation to its annual cycle. Emu 71 : 153-158. 
Wynne-Edwards, V. C. 1952. Zoology of the Baird Expedition (1950). I. The birds obser- 
ved in central and south-east Baffin Island. Auk 69: 353-391. 

Address: Dr. P. N. Ferns, Zoology Department, University College, Cathays Park, Cardiff. 

Undescribed Acrocephalus Warblers from 
Pacific Ocean Islands 

by D. T. Holyoak & J.-C. Thibault 

Received 28 April 1978 

During studies of Polynesian birds we have located old museum specimens 
of Acrocephalus spp. from Pacific Ocean islands that apparently represent 2 
undescribed forms. Another form, known only from old descriptions, has 
been widely overlooked. All 3 populations are now almost certainly extinct, 
so it seems worthwhile to draw attention to them and give names to the 
undescribed forms since additional information is unlikely to become 

Acrocephalus caffer garretti subsp. nov. 

Description. Two apparently adult specimens are closely similar in colora- 
tion to Acrocephalus caffer caffer (Sparrman) from Tahiti (described in detail 
by Murphy & Mathews 1928), although the pale cream fringes to the feathers 
of the upperparts of the body may be slightly broader, especially on the 
rump and uppertail-coverts. However, they are substantially larger than A. 
c. caffer , especially the wing- and tail-length (Table 1). They differ from the 
large A. c. longirostris (Gmelin) of Moorea (described by Murphy & Mathews 
1928), which has all but the central pair of retrices mainly pale cream, in 
having all the rectrices blackish-brown with narrow pale cream tips that are 
somewhat broader on the outermost feathers. They differ from Marquesas 
Islands populations in having much paler yellow underparts and other 

I2 3 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

differences in coloration, measurements or both (cf. Murphy & Mathews 
1928, Holyoak & Thibault in prep.). 

Type. Unsexed and apparently adult specimen with 'Museum Godeffroy' 
label having data '7915 leg A. Garrett; Huahine, Tahiti' that is registered as 
number in the collection of the British Museum (Natural 

Material examined. Besides the type, another unsexed and apparently adult 
specimen with identical labelling to that of the type : registered as number 
594897 in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History 
(measurements in Table 1). 


Measurements (mm) of Acrocephalus caffer from the Society Islands, 
s = one standard deviation. 


Form and Range 





A. c. garretti 


Holotype BM 






Paratype AMNH 





A. c. caffer 




80 -o 



(s 1-94) 

(s 2-14) 

(si- 18) 

(s 0-87) 






(si "74) 


(so -66) 

(s 1 • 06) 

A. c. longirostris 


2 6\? 

103, 106 


29, 30 







Etymology. The name honours Andrew Garrett who collected all known 
specimens of this warbler, and many other Polynesian birds. 

Notes. In a paper that has often been overlooked, GrafTe (1873) mentioned 
a warbler specimen ('Tatare longirostris Gml. 1 Exemplar') in the Museum 
Godeffroy, Hamburg, that was collected on Huahine by Andrew Garrett. 
Graffe states that he considers Garrett's locality labels to be reliable and we 
have come to the same conclusion after seeing many specimens collected 
by him. 

Canon Tristram (1889), in the printed Catalogue to his Collection, listed 
* Acrocephalus otatare . . . (b) Huaheine, 1877. — Garrett'. Tristram obtained 
numerous specimens from the Museum GodefTroy. In an earlier discussion of 
warblers from the Society Islands (Tristram 1883: 42) he commented 
'Latham's type in the Derby Museum, from Eimeo [=Moorea], and my 
own from Tahiti and Huaheina are absolutely identical.' In case it be thought 
that these remarks argue against the distinctness of the Huahine warbler it 
should be pointed out that Tristram failed also to notice the distinctness of 
the Moorea population (cf. Murphy & Mathews 1928). Indeed, Tristram 
himself commented (1883: 42-43) when naming Acrocephalus mendanae [a 
distinctive Marquesan warbler now known as A. caffer mendanae], 'The next 
species I formerly, through unpardonable carelessness, stated to be identical 
with the Tahiti bird. I can only plead in excuse that I worked by gaslight, 
and failed to notice the distinction in colouration'. Tristram's specimen from 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 124 

Huahine was probably lost during bombing in the last war along with most 
of the other Sylviidae of the old Liverpool Collection. 

Andrew Garrett spent many years in Polynesia and collected numerous 
birds and other natural history specimens. We have seen specimens of 
Halcyon tuta tuta and other birds collected on Huahine by him. It seems likely 
that either the AMNH or the BM(NH) warbler specimen is the one mention- 
ed by Graffe, while the other of these like the Liverpool specimen (labelled 
1877) was presumably collected after Graffe wrote in 1873. 

In naming the Huahine warbler we recognise that there is a name available 
for a warbler which may formerly have inhabited the neighbouring island 
of Raiatea, although the specimen is apparently lost, as discussed in the next 
section. However, where the species occurs on volcanic islands that are not 
very close together, taxonomically different populations of A. caffer are 
found on each (Murphy & Mathews 1928, Murphy 1938, Holyoak & 
Thibault 1977) so there is every likelihood that the virtually unknown 
Raiatea warbler differed from the Huahine population. 

Warblers were not found on Huahine by the Whitney South Sea Expedi- 
tion in 1921 nor by recent visitors, so there can be little doubt that they are 
extinct on the island. The Moorea warbler is now extremely rare and the 
Tahiti population has decreased considerably since the last century (Holyoak 
1974, Thibault 1974, Holyoak & Thibault in prep.). 

Acrocephalus caffer musae (J. R. Forster) 
Oriolus musa J. R. Forster, 1844, Descr. Anim. ed. Licht., p. 163. 

Captain Cook's second and third voyages visited Raiatea, Society Islands, 
which they knew as Ulietea. Sharpe (1883) identified the bird described by 
J. R. Forster as Tat are longirostris Gmelin [now known as Acrocephalus caffer 
longirostris (Gmelin)] and Stresemann (1950) and Lysaght (1959) have agreed 
that it is an Acrocephalus warbler. J. R. Forster's description was clearly 
meant to refer to a drawing (no. 5 5) made by his son Georg Forster on Cook's 
second expedition, although the description and the drawing differ somewhat 
(Lysaght 1959), and Georg Forster's bird has been said to have been obtained 
on Tahiti, not on Ulietea (the drawing is marked Otahaite in unknown 
handwriting), which J. R. Forster lists as the locality for Oriolus musa. 

Stresemann (1950) suggested that Sparrman's type of A. c. caffer, which is 
preserved in the Stockholm Museum was more probably shot at Raiatea than 
at Tahiti, but there is no direct evidence for this and the specimen agrees 
with Tahiti birds (Sundevall i860, Gyldenstolpe 1926, M. D. Bruce pers. 
comm.). We have been unable to locate any specimens of warblers from 
Raiatea in museums in Sweden (M. D. Bruce, B.-O. Stolt, L. Wallin, pers. 
comm.) or elsewhere but there seems little doubt that an Acrocephalus 
warbler was present on this island in the late eighteenth century. 

If Georg Forster's plate 5 5 accurately represents the Raiatea warbler, it was 
probably a very large form with a very long bill (exposed culmen 34 mm) 
(cf. Lysaght 1959: 286). Such features could explain the size of the Huahine 
warbler which seems anomalously large in terms of the patterns of variation 
in size of Polynesian Acrocephalus discussed by Holyoak & Thibault (1977). 
Gene-flow to Huahine from a larger population of larger warblers on Raiatea 
could explain the anomaly. 

I2 5 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

Acrocephalus luscinia astrolabii subsp. no v. 

Description. Two apparently adult specimens are closely similar to Acro- 
cephalus luscinia luscinia (Quoy & Gaimard) from Guam and Saipan in colora- 
tion, with nearly uniform upperparts lacking the pale feather fringes that are 


Measurements (mm) of Acrocephalus luscinia. s=one standard deviation; * indicates measurements made by the authors; 

superscript numbers refer to footnotes. 

Form and Range 
A. I. astrolabii subsp. nov. 
(range uncertain) 

A. I. luscinia (Quoy & Gaimard) 

(Marianas Is.: Guam, Saipan, Alamagan) 

A. l.yamashinae (Takatsukasa) 
(Marianas Is. : Pagan) 

A. I. nijoi (Yamashina) 
(Marianas Isl : Agiguan) 

A. I. syrinx (Kittlitz) 
(Caroline Is. : Woleai, Lamotrek, Truk, 
Lukunor, Nukuoro, Ponape, Kusaie) 

A. I. rehsei (Finsch) 
(Nawodo or Pleasant I.) 

Para type 



l \ locality 



'5 0*6* 

(si- 5 8) 
= 3 6*6* 8 7'7 
(so -76) 

1?? 78 





! i3c?6* 
2 6?9 
8 5cf<J 

3 2?? 




*i9d*6" 78-3 
(si -47) 



(s 1 • 60) 

(si -90) 

5 2 63 70, 72 

8 5?9 67-5-70 












67- 1 


(8 2-27) 


59-5. 6 3"5 



c2 9 -5 



(si- 61) 





(so -49) 

(s o • 64) 



[14, 15] 






(so- 50) 



(so -86) 

(so -90) 


(s i- 00) 


Notes. Measurements from Baker (195 1). Measurements from Takatsukasa & Yamashina (193 1). 'Measurements of 
birds in MNHN made by E. Mayr and cited by Baker (195 1); 4 from Yamashina (1940) who comments that nijoi has a 
slightly smaller bill than specimens of the nominate form (he gives measurements of 30-34 mm for birds from Saipan, 
suggesting he may have measured bill length from the gape); it is clear from the description that nijoi is little if at all lar- 
ger overall than the nominate form. Measurements from Finsch (1873), his inches and lines having been converted to 
mm by us ; the very short bill lengths suggest he was measuring the bill from the nares. 

prominent in the larger Polynesian Acrocephalus. The specimens differ from 
A. I. luscinia in their large size and relatively short bill (Table 2) and their 
extraordinarily stout tarsi, feet and claws. They are much larger than any of 
the other warblers of Micronesia ''Table 2) and the combination of the 
coloration, size and heavy feet is quite different from that of any Polynesian 
or continental warbler. 

Type. Unsexed and apparently adult specimen in the Museum National 
d'Histoire Naturelle labelled 'Mangareva, Astrolabe, Philedon chanteur', 
the locality Mangareva probably being an error (see below). The specimen 
is numbered 151 and it is registered as number E 8681. 

Material examined. Besides the type, another unsexed and apparently 
adult specimen in the MNHN (no registration number) labelled 'Philedon 
(chanteur), Nouheva [or Nouhira] 266 Astrolabe' in similar handwriting to 
that on the label of the type The locality Nouheva [=Nuku Hiva, Marquesas 
Islands?] is almost certainly an error (see below). For measurements see 
Table 2. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 126 

Etymology. Genitive of mediaeval Latin astrolabium, astrolabe, in honour 
of 1' 'Astrolabe, the flagship of Dumont D'Urville's Second Antarctic Expedi- 

Notes. The type was registered in the MNHN catalogue as E 8681 follow- 
ing 'D 8681 Acrocephalus syrinx K et F. Carolines- Hombron et Jacquinot 
1841-106'. E 8681 is marked as ' " " [= Acrocephalus syrinx] Mangareva 
H et J. 1841-1 12\ There is thus little doubt that E 8681 was obtained on the 
Antarctic Expedition under Captain J. Dumont D'Urville in the Astrolabe 
and Zelee, with Hombron and Jacquinot as naturalists. This expedition 
travelled widely in the tropical Pacific in 183 8-1 8 39 and visited numerous 
islands in Polynesia and Melanesia and a few in Micronesia. 

The published accounts of the naturalists on the expedition give few clues 
as to the likely origins of these warbler specimens. The characters described 
above suggest affinity with Micronesian warblers, so it seems likely that the 
specimens were obtained in Micronesia rather than Melanesia or Polynesia. 
Lacan & Mougin (1974) suggested the specimens were from Mangareva in 
the Gambier Islands in accordance with the label on the specimen we have 
selected as the type, but the conflicting 'Nouheva' [or Nouhira] on the other 
specimen casts doubt on the reliability of the labelling. Moreover, the large 
size of these specimens argues against origin on Mangareva as it is not in 
accordance with the well marked patterns of variation in Polynesian warblers 
(Holyoak & Thibault 1977), and their resemblance to Micronesian warblers 
has already been stressed. 

Dumont D'Urville (1 841-1846) records that the expedition under his 
charge visited the islands of Losap, Truk, Guam, Yap and Peleliu in Micro- 
nesia. Acrocephalus of very different appearance are known from Guam and 
from Truk (Baker 195 1 ; Table 2) and none of the Pacific Islands is known to 
have more than one type of warbler. It may be speculated that the high vol- 
canic island of Yap, from which no warbler is known, could be the source of 
the Astrolabe specimens. The first real ornithological exploration of Yap took 
place many years later when Hartlaub & Finsch (1872) described some of the 
endemic land birds and a warbler could have become extinct before then. 
However, there is apparently no way in which the origin of this very distinc- 
tive warbler can be securely established. 

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the American Museum of Natural History, Bernice 
P. Bishop Museum (Honolulu), British Museum (Natural History), Cambridge University 
Museum, Merseyside County Museums (Liverpool) and Museum National d'Histoire 
Naturelle (Paris) for access to specimens and the courtesy of loans that made this study 
possible. DTH gratefully acknowledges grants from the Frank M. Chapman Memorial 
Fund of the AMNH that enabled him to study Pacific warblers in that Collection. J.-C. T. 
gratefully acknowledges the assistance of l'Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique 
Outre Mer, le Comite International de Protection des Oiseaux et l'Academie des Sciences 

Thanks are due to M. D. Bruce, Dr. B.-O. Stolt and Dr. L. Wallin for searching for 
warblers on our behalf in Swedish museums, to J. Farrand, Jr. for advice on etymology and 
to P. J. Morgan for assistance in tracing references to the Tristram Collection. 

References : 

Baker, R. H. 195 1. The avifauna of Micronesia, its origin, evolution and distribution. 
Univ. Kansas Mtis. Nat. Hist. Publ. 3. 

Dumont D'Urville, J. S. C. 1 841-1846. Voyage au Pole Sua 1 et dans VOceanie sur les corvettes 
/'Astrolabe et la Zelee, execute par ordre du roi pendant les annees 1837-1838-1839-1840, 
sous le commandement de M. J. Dumont D' Urville . . . Paris. 10 vols. 

i2 7 {Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

Finsch, O. 1873. On a new Reed- Warbler from the island of Nawodo or Pleasant Island, 

in the Western Pacific. Ibis Series 5 (1): 142-144. 
GrafTe, E. 1873. Vogelbalge aus Huahine. /. Mus. Godeffroy, Hamburg 1: 48-51. 
Gyldenstolpe, N. 1926. Types of birds in the Royal Natural History Museum in Stockholm. 

Arkiv. for Zoologi 19: 1-1 1 6. 
Hartlaub, G. & Finsch, O. 1872. On a fourth collection of birds from the Pelew and 

Mackenzie islands. Proc. Zool. Soc. London (1872): 87-114. 
Holyoak, D. T. 1974. Les oiseaux des iles de la Societe. Oiseait, Revue fr. Orn. 44: 1-27, 

Holyoak, D. T. & Thibault, J.-C. 1977. Habitats, morphologie et inter-actions ecologiques 

des oiseaux insectivores de Polynesie orientale. Oiseau, Revue fr. Orn. 47: 11 5-147. 

— in prep. L'Avifaune de Polynesie orientale. 

Lacan, F. & Mougin, J.-L. 1974. Les oiseaux des Iles Gambier et de quelques atolls 

orientaux de l'archipel des Tuamotu (Ocean Pacifique). Oiseau, Revue fr. Orn. 44: 

Lysaght, A. 1959. Some eighteenth century bird paintings in the library of Sir Joseph 

Banks (1743-1820). Bull. Br. Mus. {Nat. Hist.), Hist. 1: 251-371. 
Murphy, R. C. 1938. The need of insular exploration as illustrated by birds. Science, N.Y. 

88: 533-539- 
Murphy, R. C. & Mathews, G. M. 1928. Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea 

Expedition. V. Am. Mus. Novit. 337. 
Sharpe, R. B. 1883. Cichlomorphae : part 4. Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. 7. 
Stresemann, E. 1950. Birds collected during Captain James Cook's last expedition (1776- 

80). Auk 67: 66-88. 
Sundevall, C. J. i860. Kritisk framstallning af fogelarterna uti aldre ornithologiska arbeten. 

K. Vet. Akad. Handl. B2 (3): 4-5. 
Takatsukasa, S. & Yamashina, Y. 193 1. Some new birds from the Palao and Mariana 

Islands. Dobutsu. Zasshi 43 : 484-487. 
Thibault, J.-C. 1974. Le peuplement avien des iles de la Societe {Polynesie). Mus. Nat. Hist. 

Nat. & Hautes Etudes, Antenne de Tahiti. 
Tristram, H. B. 1883. On the position of the Acrocephaline genus Tatare, with descriptions 

of two new species of the genus Acrocephalus. Ibis Series 5 (1): 38-46. 

— 1889. Catalogue of a Collection of Birds belonging to H. B. Tristram, D.D., LL.D., F.R.S. 
Durham : printed at the Advertiser Office. 

Yamashina, Marquis Y. 1940. Some additions to the 'List of the Birds of Micronesia'. 
Tori 10: 673-679. 

Addresses: D. T. Holyoak, Department of Geography, University of Reading, No. 2 
Earley Gate, Whiteknights Road, Reading RG6 2AU, England. 
J.-C. Thibault, 15 rue Daubenton, 75005 Paris, France. 

Records of birds from Timor: some additions and 


by Murray D. Bruce 

Received 28 February 1978 

In a catalogue of the Timor specimens in the Museu Bocage, Lisbon, 
Bacelar (1958) listed seven species as either new to Timor or as range exten- 
sions for eastern (formerly Portuguese) Timor. I recently questioned the 
validity of two of these (Bruce 1975) as at the time I had been unable to 
obtain information on the specimens in question. This problem was rectified 
during a visit to the Museu Bocage on 28 November 1977, when I was able 
to examine all questionable specimens. 

Falco s. subbuteo. The single mounted specimen (reg. no. 303 G), collected 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 128 

in January 1896 was photographed and comparison of the colour trans- 
parencies with material in the British Museum (Natural History) showed it to 
agree well in all plumage characters with specimens of F. s. subbuteo from 
central Asia; the thighs, lower belly and under-tail coverts are pale buff, 
indicating an immature bird. It is not the Australian F. longipennis as I sugg- 
ested earlier (1975). The specimen thus represents the easternmost record of 
the species, which is only a rare vagrant to the Indonesian area. 

Hemiprocne c. comata. The specimen proves to be Collocalia esculenta, a 
resident species of Timor. In my earlier note I had suggested mislabelling of 
this specimen, since Hemiprocne comata is unrecorded from Wallacea. 

Of the other species listed by Bacelar as new for Portuguese Timor, two 
warrant a mention. Halcyon s. sancta is listed in the summary but not in the 
text. In the collection there are two mounted birds from the northern coast 
around Dili, where it was noted as common by their collector. The specimen 
identified as Ficedula timorensis proves to be F. hyperythra, a widespread resi- 
dent species. 

Mees (1976), in a note on overlooked Timor records of Salomon Muller, 
included comments on the lapwing Rogibyx tricolor (=Vanellus cucullatus) 
known by one mounted specimen from Timor. However, Forbes & Robin- 
son (1899:64) listed two specimens from Timor in the Merseyside 
County Museums, Liverpool. I have examined these specimens, both 
collected early last century, almost certainly by Muller. One of these (reg. 
no. D.3oo8a) was obtained from Temminck by the dealer John Leadbeater 
and purchased by Lord Derby on 2 August 1840 (cf. Morgan 1975 for addi- 
tional historical background of these collections). The second specimen 
(reg. no. D.3008) was obtained by Lord Derby from John Gould in Novem- 
ber 1 841 and most probably originated from Temminck, perhaps during a 
visit by Gould to Leiden (P. J. Morgan pers. comm.). Temminck was quite 
positive about the locality Timor, and additional evidence may be found 
amongst Miiller's manuscript notes ; but Mees {in litt.) doubts the provenance 
Timor of the Leiden specimen. As pointed out by Mees (1976), large numbers 
of birds were exchanged by Temminck and many of these specimens have 
since disappeared. This lapwing is now very rare and all recent records have 
been from Java (cf. Kooiman 1940). 

Acknowledgements : For access to collections under their care I wish to thank Mr. I. C. J. 
Galbraith, British Museum (Natural History), Tring, Mr. P. J. Morgan, Merseyside County 
Museums, Liverpool, and Dr. A. A. Soares, Museu Bocage, Lisbon. Dr. G. F. Mees kindly 
assisted with enquiries on the Leiden collection. 

References : 

Bacelar, A. 1958. Aves de Timor no Museu Bocage. Rev. Portug. Zool. e Biol. Ger. 1 :363~ 384. 

Bruce, M. D. 1975. Some overlooked and doubtful records of birds from Timor. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 95: 11 7-1 18. 
Forbes, H. O. & Robinson, H. C. 1899. Catalogue .... of birds .... in the Derby Museum. 

Bull. Liverpool Mus. 2: 51-75, 1 17-150. 
Kooiman, J. G. 1940. Mededeelingen over het voorkomen in Oost-Java van enkele voor 

dit gewest nog niet in de literatuur genoemde vogels. Ardea 29: 98-108. 
Mees, G. F. 1976. Some birds recorded from Timor by Salomon Muller in 1828-29. Fmu 

Morgan, P. J. 1975. A catalogued specimen of Coua delalandei (Temminck) (Cuculidae) in 

Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 95: 62-64. 

Address: 8 Spurwood Road, Turramurra NSW 2074, Australia. 

129 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

Nuptial behaviour in the Genus Coracina 

by S. Marchant 

Received 16 March 1978 
Smythies (1964) stated that courtship display in some large cuckoo-shrikes 
(Campephagidae) consisted of the male lifting each wing alternately without 
opening the feathers, while calling vigorously, and Macdonald (1973) 
made a similar claim for the Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehol- 
landiae. Because shuffling of the wings in this fashion is performed by some 
species of Coracina at all times, even by solitary birds, there is doubt 
whether it is related to true courtship display. On the other hand, Rand & 
Gilliard (1967) stated that Coracina papuensis 'mated after a short period of 
mutual display, consisting of facing each other and fluttering their wings'. 
Skead (1966) and Marshall etal. (1968) described display by the Black Cuckoo- 
shrike Campephaga Phoenicia, in which both birds hopped or fluttered about 
in trees with trilling calls, the male gaping at the female to expose the orange 
inside of his mouth. The duetting and displays by groups of birds, described 
by Diamond & Terborgh (1968), for Campochaera sloetii, Coracina montana 
and C. schisticeps were thought to be of a 'communal territorial nature'. 

I can find no other references to displays and nuptial behaviour in campe- 
phagids, so that 2 performances by the Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris and 
one by C. novaehollandiae that I witnessed near Moruya, New South Wales, 
in the breeding season of 1975-76 may be of interest. 

Performances by C. tenuirostris occured at 18.00 on 28 November, 2 days 
before the pair started to build a nest, and at 09.30 on 4 December, 5 days 
before the egg was laid. (The species has never been known to lay more than 
one egg in a clutch.) I did not see which bird initiated the display because 
each time it had started before my attention was attracted. During display 
the female perched crosswise on a horizontal branch 5-10 m from the ground, 
crouching somewhat, with wings partly spread and quivered; otherwise she 
remained motionless. The male actively hopped round her and from side to 
side, mostly facing her, wings partly opened and tail spread, bowing towards 
her with neck extended, at the same time cocking his spread tail. 

With each bow, as far as I could judge, he gave a loud arresting 'tick-00' 
call with a peculiar and distinctive mechanical quality. On the first occasion, 
after less than a minute of this performance the male dived from the branch 
and flew away through the understorey with a protracted variation of its 
normal call, 'tchuit-t-t-t . . .'. I lost sight of the female. On the second 
occasion, after a minute or so of bowing and tickoo-ing the male faced the 
female, bowing more exaggerately than ever, as before with head extended, 
tail cocked and spread, tickoo-ing rapidly. He suddenly mounted the female, 
copulated for a few moments and dived away with the protracted 'tchuit-t- 
t-t .. .'. The female remained for a while, preened, then moved away. I 
heard the tick-00 call once later that season, two days before the egg was 
laid, and may have heard it in the distance once in the 1977-78 season. I have 
spent a long time each day in these birds' territories during their breeding 
seasons and have otherwise not heard the tick-00 call, which suggests that 
it is restricted to a brief period. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 130 

In contrast, C. novaehollandiae apparently mates with little ceremony (cf. 
C. papuensis above). At 08.30 on 15 November, a male (identified by subse- 
quent behaviour) was perched on a small horizontal dead branch of a sapling 
gum tree, 5 m from the ground. The female flew and settled close by him and 
half-spread her wings. The male twisted towards her, peered at her rigidly, 
then mounted. Copulation took place quickly and the female immediately 
flew off and began to collect thin twigs for building. 

Thus, the difference in nuptial behaviour within the genus Coracina seems 
considerable. The present Coracina genus was once split into 2 or 3. Peters 
(i960) put 41 species into Coracina, of which 4 from southeastern Asia have 
sometimes been separated under Volvocivora; I shall not refer to these again. 
Another 10 species, including tenuirostris, were once separated in the genus 
Edolisoma, which has now been included in Coracina because the morphologi- 
cal differences of size of bill and the sexual dimorphism, which generally 
distinguish these 2 sections, are linked by a series of intermediates in the 
region of New Guinea : casruleogrisea, lineata, bojeri, morio and schisticeps The 
sexual dimorphism of tenuirostris and of species like it, e.g. schisticeps, is 
reminscent of the African genus Campephaga, and in my opinion the inter- 
mediate links between the essentially monomorphic section of the genus and 
the dimorphic one are too abrupt for sinking Edolisoma. In addition it is 
worth drawing attention to differences in voice, flight and nesting behaviour 
between C. novaehollandiae (sexually monomorphic) and C. tenuirostris 
(dimorphic), which may be taken as representatives of the two sections of 
the genus being discussed. 

Voice. C. novaehollandiae has a variety of slurred liquid calls, giving an 
impression of leisureliness, even lethargy; tenuirostris gives a far-carrying 
energetic 'kree-kree-kree . . . .' song, a bit like that of some cicadas (hence 
its English name), and has various calls based on a sharp single note, 'tchuit'. 
C. papuensis, pectoralis and other species predominantly call like novaehollandiae, 
but morio (at least) calls like tenuirostris. 

Flight. C. novaehollandiae flies in a leisurely dipping fashion with slow 
wing-beats and intervals of gliding; tenuirostris flies fast and direct with 
rapidly beating wings. On alighting, novaehollandiae most characteristically 
shuffles its wings, first one and then the other, without opening the feathers, 
whereas tenuirostris does not. Certainly several other species behave as 
novaehollandiae, but I can find no field descriptions of species that fly like 
tenuirostris and do not shufflle their wings. 

Nesting. Though nests and eggs seem similar throughout the genus, both 
sexes of novaehollandiae build, incubate and tend the young; in tenuirostris 
probably the male alone builds, and certainly he does not incubate (pers. 
obs.), but both parents tend the young. The breeding behaviour of campe- 
phagids in general and of the genus Coracina in particular is so poorly record- 
ed that comparison cannot go farther. 

Much more needs to be known about the field characters of species of 
Coracina before the resurrection of the genus Edolisoma can be suggested, 
but on the face of it differences in nuptial behaviour, flight and voice between 
species such as novaehollandiae and papuensis on the one hand and tenuirostris, 
schisticeps and montana on the other seem to reinforce their differences in 
morphology and degree of sexual dimorphism. 

i 3 i [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to Dr. R. Schodde of CSIRO Division of Wildlife Re- 
search, Canberra, for help and advice in preparing this note. 

References : 

Diamond, J. M. & Terborgh, J. W. 1968. Dual singing by New Guinea birds. Auk 85: 

Macdonald, J. D. 1973. Birds of Australia. Sydney: Reed. 
Marshall, B. E., Cooper, J. & Groves, J. V. 1968. Courtship behaviour in the Black 

Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga Phoenicia. Ostrich 39: 203. 
Peters, J. L. i960. Checklist of Birds of the World, IX. Cambridge, Mass.: Mus. Comp. Zool. 
Rand, A. L. & Gilliard, E. T. 1967. Handbook of New Guinea Birds. London: Weidenfeld 

and Nicolson. 
Skead, C. J. 1966. A study of the Black Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga Phoenicia (Latham). 

Ostrich 37: 71-75. 
Smythies, B. E. 1964. Article 'Cuckoo-shrike' in Thomson, A. L. (Ed.), A New Dictionary 

of Birds. London: Nelson. 

Address: P.O. Box 123, Moruya, NSW, Australia. 

A re-appraisal of the systematic position of 
Trichastoma poliothorax (Timaliinae, Muscicapidae) 

by C. F. Mann, P.J. K. Burton & I. Lennerstedt 

Received 8 March ip/8 

Aside from the Grey-chested Illadopsis Trichastoma poliothorax, whose 
systematic position is here in question, the genus Trichastoma contains 18 
species (Deignan 1964). Of these, 11 are Asiatic, ranging from the Himalayas 
south and east through Burma and the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia and 
the Phillipines. The other 7 are African, ranging from W. Africa to Sudan, 
south to Malawi and Angola. All live close to the ground in dense under- 
growth. They are smallish babblers, generally brown or rufescent above, 
and greyish, whitish, pale rufous or orange below, often with some scaling 
on head and underparts. In some the colour of the crown contrasts with the 
mantle. In all but cinereiceps the rictal bristles are very pronounced; and 
cinereiceps also differs from all the others in having a very short tail. 

The systematic position of poliothorax has never been satisfactorily settled. 
The species was originally described as Alethe poliothorax (Reichenow 1 900) 
and both Chapin (1953) and later Hall & Moreau (1970) suggested that it 
may be a turdine. Ripley (195 2), in his treatment of the Turdinae, omitted it. 
Deignan (1964) gives no particular reason for its inclusion in the Timaliinae. 
Most recent authors agree, though expressing reservations, on placing it in 
the genus Trichastoma (or Malacocinchla, now merged with Trichastoma) in 
the subfamily Timaliinae (Chapin 1953, Hall & Moreau 1970, Mackworth- 
Praed & Grant i960). C. F. M. has noticed a superficial resemblance of the 
bird in the hand to Modulatrix stictigula. (It should perhaps be mentioned 
that Benson & Irwin (1975) have removed orostruthus from Phyllastrephus 
and added it to Modulatrix, a previously monotypic genus.) 

Our investigations have utilised skin specimens of all species of Trichas- 
toma, and spirit specimens of the following : T. tickelli, malaccense, rostratum, 
bicolor, alhipectus, fulvescens, puveli and poliothorax. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 132 

Distribution, Habitat and Habits 

White (1962) gives the distribution of T. poliothorax as 'Fernando Po, 
southeast Nigeria at Obudu Plateau, Cameroon Mt., Kupe and Bamenda in 
Cameroons, northeast Congo from west of Lake Albert to Ruwenzori and 
Mt. Kabodo, west Kenya at Mt. Elgon and Lerundo in Kavirondo'. To this 
can be added the Impenetrable Forest, Uganda (Keith et al. 1969) and the 
South Nandi Forest, and adjacent parts of the Kakamega Forest (Ripley & 
Bond 1 971). In netting operations in Kenya and Uganda over a period of 
5 years, C. F. M. only found it in Kakamega and South Nandi Forests of 
western Kenya, at altitudes of 15 60-1 700 m: its distribution within the area 
was very patchy. Zimmerman (1972) spent a total of 9 months in the Kaka- 
mega Forest and never found it. 

The species poliothorax is a scarce denizen of wet, montane forest, from 
1 500 m (900 m on Mt. Cameroon) to 2400 m, found on or near the ground. 
Like all in the genus, Trichastoma is a great skulker and is rarely observed 
except when flying across a path or captured in a mist net. Fortunately there 
was a small resident population in the main study area used by C. F. M., who 
thinks that it spends more time on the ground and less time higher in the 
undergrowth than most Trichastoma, but becuase of its fondness for deep 
cover observations on free living birds are few. Its presence is often revealed 
only by its distinctive call (see below). 


Whereas other members of Trichastoma have a rather coarse-feathered, 
somewhat untidy appearance, poliothorax is a finer, neater bird, with closer, 
denser feathering and much less obvious rictal bristles, and with a distinctive 
colour pattern, being mahogany-rufous above contrasting with dark grey 
underparts, which incline to white on the throat and centre of belly. 

Of 4 immature birds, one from northeast of Lake Tanganyika (Chapin 
1953), one from Dikume Balue, Cameroons (British Museum, examined by 
C. F. M.), and 2 captured by C. F. M. at Kakamega Forest, none had a 
typical spangled turdine immature plumage. The Cameroons specimen 
differs from the adult in having rufous- brown tips to the grey chest feathers, 
brown iris (red-brown in the adult), an orange-yellow gape and an unossi- 
fied skull. The 2 Kakamega birds differed from adults in being less chestnut 
and more gingery on the sides of the face, rump and lower back, and showed 
a certain amount of olive on the grey chest. The irides were dirty-brown and 
the gape soft and yellow. In none of the 4 specimens is there any mottling 
above. Apparently no very young birds have ever been seen, and the nest 
and eggs are unknown. However, C. W. Benson suggests that a spangled 
plumage, if it exists, might be worn for a very short time and could easily 
escape notice. He quotes the example of Pogonocichla stellata in Malawi, 
for which he knows of only a single record of a spangled bird, whereas the 
olive immature dress is frequently seen. 

Bill and Tongue 

Bill form is extremely similar in all species of Trichastoma, including 
poliothorax. Rictal bristles are well developed in Trichastoma, less so in 
cinereiceps and even less well developed in poliothorax. 

The tongue of poliothorax is distinctive. It narrows sharply from the base 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

and the sides are strongly infolded, forming a 'U'-shaped cross-section. It is 
very narrow for most of its length, and has a frayed, brush-like tip. In the 
other species of Trichastoma examined the tongue is broad and flat, though 
also with a somewhat frayed tip. 

Bill and tongue lengths are given in Table 1. The tongue is longest, 
relative to the bill, in poliothorax, only malaccense approaching it closely in 
this respect. 

Fig. 1 . Tongues of Trichastoma albipectus, above, and T. poliothorax, below. 


As the specimens available were spirit ones, a detailed osteological com- 
parison was not undertaken. However, the skull of poliothorax differs notice- 
ably from others of Trichastoma in its general shape (Table 1), being wider 
relative to its length than in other members of Trichastoma, and also more 
tapering, i.e. relatively narrower in front of the orbits than behind. An 
additional point of some interest is the angle made at the intersection of the 

Quantitative data on head morphology in the genus Trichastoma, including poliothorax. 

Cranium length from junction 

of nasal and jugal (A) 
Greatest cranium width 

posterior to orbit (B) 
Greatest cranium width 

anterior to orbit (C) 
Anterior: Posterior width 

ratio C/B 
Width: Length ratio C/A 
Bill length, from junction of 

nasal and jugal (D) 
Tongue length (E) 
Tongue: Bill ratio E/D 
Postorbital ligament/jugal angle 


















































1 1 -o 





[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 


post-orbital ligament and the jugal bar. The angle in the dorsal anterior 
quadrant of the intersection (Table 1) is considerably greater in poliothorax 
than in other members of Trichastoma. 

Jaw muscles 

Substantial differences between poliothorax and other Trichastoma species 
were noted in the structure of M. adductor mandibulae externus and M. 
pterygoideus. The terminology used here for subdivisions of these muscles 
is that employed by Richards & Bock (1973). 

pvm amp aec 

Fig. 2. Jaw musculature of Trichastoma albipectus. 
Dorsal view, upper; lateral view, lower. 

Fig. 3. Jaw musculature oiTrichastoma poliothorax. 
Dorsal view, upper ; lateral view, lower. 


aec — M. adductor mandibulae externus caudalis. 

aerl — M. adductor mandibulae externus rostralis lateralis. 

aerm — M. adductor mandibulae externus rostralis medialis. 

aert — M. adductor mandibulae externus rostralis temporalis. 

aev — M. adductor mandibulae externus ventralis. 

amp — M. adductor mandibulae posterior. 

dm — M. depressor mandibulae. 

pdl — M. pterygoideus dorsalis lateralis. 

pdma — M. pterygoideus dorsalis medialis anterior. 

pdmp — M. pterygoideus dorsalis medialis posterior. 

pqp — M. protractor quadrati et pterygoidei. 

psp — M. pseudotemporalis profundus. 

pss — M. pseudotemporalis superficialis. 

i 3 5 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

M. adductor mandibulae externus (M.a.m.e.) 
T. poliothorax: M.a.m.e. rostralis temporalis has a very small area of origin, 
and shows no clear separation from the lateralis portion. M.a.m.e. rostralis 
medialis and rostralis lateralis are closely united and extend equally far 

Other species: M.a.m.e. rostralis temporalis extends markedly further poster- 
iorly at the origin, and is clearly separated from the lateralis portion by a well 
marked groove. M.a.m.e. rostralis medialis extends less far anteriorly than 
M.a.m.e. rostralis lateralis, and is slightly separated from it anteriorly, giving 
the impression of a distinct slip. 

M. pterygoideus ( 
T . poliothorax : dorsalis lateralis is separated medially by a clear groove 
from dorsalis medialis anterior, but does not overlap it. dorsalis 
medialis posterior has origin along the full length of the anterolateral and 
posterolateral surfaces of the pterygoid. The fibres of dorsalis medialis 
anterior fan out evenly from their insertion on the medial surface of the 
mandible as seen in dorsal view. 

Other species: The medial edge of dorsalis lateralis overlaps 
dorsalis medialis anterior substantially, though still leaving much of it 
exposed to dorsal view. dorsalis medialis anterior is smaller than in 
poliothorax, its anterior origin being confined to the posterior half of the 
anterolateral surface of the pterygoid, though posterior fibres originate along 
the whole length of the postero-lateral surface. dorsalis medialis 
anterior shows distinct bipinnate structure in dorsal view, with fibres diverg- 
ing from a raphe of insertion — most strongly so in tickelli and least well 
defined in bicolor. 


The pads and the folds on the feet have already been studied in a number 
of European passerine species by Lennerstedt (1973, 1974, 1975 a, b, c) 
and his methods and terminology are followed here. One specimen of 
poliothorax (Kenya) and singles of Trichastoma tickelli (Malaya), T. malaccense 
(Malaya), T. rostratum (Malaya), T. bicolor (Malaya), T. pyrrhopterum (Kenya), 
T. albipectus (Zaire) in the spirit collection of the British Museum were 

The plantar surface of the foot has pads (extensive raised areas) and folds 
(narrow raised areas) which are separated by furrows. Pads and larger folds 
have papillae, whereas the smaller folds may lack them. The papillae in the 
pads are mostly smaller and more pointed than the papillae in the folds, 
indicating that the papillae in the pads are regularly in contact with the sub- 
strate. The pads, folds, furrows and papillae appear during the first half of 
embryonic life (Lennerstedt 1973) and they are as characteristic as other 
morphological features, e.g. those of the skeleton. 

The contour of the pads and folds and the profile of the claws were drawn 
on paper using a stereo microscope with a camera lucida apparatus. The 
paper was cut along the contour of the pad and the size of the pad was calcu- 
lated from the weight of the piece of paper. The papillae in the pad were 
counted and the average size of the papillae in the pad was calculated. This 
is the size of the base of the papillae, not of the top of the papillae, the 
structure of which may vary with season (Lennerstedt 1975c). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 


The 6 typical species of Trichastoma studied have a similar pattern of pads 
and folds in the feet and the minor differences between them can be explained 
as individual variation within any of the species (Lennerstedt 1975a). How- 
ever, poliothorax differs substantially from all the others, and for the following 
treatment can be compared with T. rostratum representing the 6 species of 

The pads and folds in T. rostratum and poliothorax are shown in Fig. 4. 
Eight areas with differences between the 2 species (A-H) are described in 
Table 2. 

Fig. 4. Plantar surface of the foot in T. rostratum, upper and T. poliothorax, lower. Pads and 
folds referred to in Table 2 are shaded and lettered. 

In general rostratum has more folds than poliothorax. This implies that the 
pads in poliothorax lie closer to each other, particularly at the joints. A 
functional implication of this may be that the digits in rostratum may be more 
strongly curled around small twigs than in poliothorax. 

The following pads are divided into 2 in poliothorax-. pad 11:2, 111:2, 
111:3, an d IV:2. One of the parts is broad and the other more narrow. This 
means that the parts of the pad have become specialised. A similar division 
does not occur in rostratum. 

The basal phalanges of the anterior digits differ between the species. 
T. rostratum has phalanx 11:3 and 111:4 substantially shorter than phalanx 
11:2 and 111:3 respectively; poliothorax has phalanx II 13 and 111:4 about 
similar length to 11:2 and 111:3 respectively. T. rostratum has phalanx IV:5 
longer than IV '.4, whereas poliothorax has the 2 phalanges about equal 
length. Almost nothing is known about how passerines use the phalanges as 
levers in grasping twigs and in standing on the ground. The different pro- 
portions of the phalanges, however, must imply differences in the ability 
to perform these tasks. 

137 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

Comparison of foot pads and folds in T. rostratum, including poliothorax (see Fig. 4). 
T. rostratum T. poliothorax 


A. Pad 1:2 narrowing, ended with 2 Pad 1:2 is narrowest in the middle part; no fold 
folds. distal to the pad. 


B. Pad 11:2 narrowing distally, ended Pad 11:2 divided into one broad basal and one 
with 2 folds. narrow distal part; no fold distal to the pad. 

C. Pad 11:3 has typical muscicapid Pad 11:3 is comparatively small, the pad lying 
form; basal to it is a narrow fold. near joint 11:2/3; basal to it are 2 comparatively 

large folds. 


D. Pad 111:2 narrowing distally, ended Pad 111:2 divided into one broad basal part and 
with 2 folds. one narrow distal part, ended with one fold. 

E. Pad 111:3 i s l° n S> rectangular. Pad 111:3 divided into one broad distal part and 

2 narrow basal parts with papillae as in the folds. 


F. Pad IV: 2 narrowing distally, ended Pad IV: 2 divided into 2 about equal large parts; 
with 2 folds. no fold distal to the pad. 

G. Pad IV :4 is longer than phalanx Pad IV 14 is shorter than phalanx IV :4, lying 
IV :4, lying ventral to phalanx IV 14 ventral to it. 

and joint IV 14/ 5 ; pad IV 14 is joined 
to folds at phalanx III -.4. 
H. Fold IV:4/5 displaced basally, lying Fold IV:4/5 ^ cs ventral to joint IV 14/5 and it has 
ventral to distal part of phalanx grown together with folds at phalanx 111:4. The 
IV: 5 ; the fold has papillae as other fold has papillae similar to those in the pads, 

The differences in the length of phalanges correspond to differences in 
pads and folds and their relation to the phalanges in digits III and IV (see 
G and H, Table 2). Joint IV 14/ 5 in rostratum lies at the basal part of pad 
IV 14, but in poliothorax the joint lies at the fold basal to the pad, and this 
fold is enlarged. 

A noticeable difference concerns pad 11:3. T. rostratum has a typical 11:3 
with a narrow fold basal to it, whereas poliothorax has a comparatively small 
pad 11:3, lying close to the joint, and 2 large folds basal to the pad. The distal 
of the 2 folds is probably a separated part of pad 11:3. The structure of pad 
11:3 in poliothorax is analogical to the differentiation of pad 11:2, 111:2 and 
III: 3 . 

For 8 pads, the size of pad was measured, the number of papillae counted, 
and the average size of papillae calculated (Table 3). The 6 species, represented 


Size of pad, and number and size of papillae in 7 species of Trichastoma including poliothorax. 

Species Pad si^e mm 2. Papillae number Papillae si^e y mm 2 

o- 101 
o- 116 

Note: Papillae size is calculated as the mean of eight pads, not as the mean of the figures in 
the table. 






















[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 138 

by T. rostratum in Fig. 4, with a similar pattern of pads and folds, are 
easily compared as every pad and fold in one species has an equivalent in 
any of the other species. The values of poliothorax are calculated on pads, 
many of which have different positions in the foot, so that they are not 
closely comparable with the other species, but they are of value as general 
information on these features. 

The comparison of the species shows that poliothorax has the largest total 
area of pads. This may be explained by the lack of certain folds and the 
corresponding expansion of pads. In all species, the total number of papillae 
varies considerably, from about 250 to about 380, poliothorax lying within 
this range of variation. The average size of papillae varies according to the 
number of papillae, from 0*14 to 0-075 mm 2 . In poliothorax the papillae 
are comparatively large, averaging 0-115 mm 2 . In the number and size of 
papillae poliothorax does not deviate from Trichastoma species. However, 
poliothorax had pad 11:2, 111:2, and 111:3 divided into one broad and one 
narrow part. The broad parts, lying close to the joint, have papillae of about 
o-iomm 2 , whereas the narrow parts have substantially larger papillae of 
about o- 16 mm 2 . The circumstances in pad IV :z are similar. The basal part 
of pad IV :2 has papillae of about o- 08 mm 2 and the distal part of about 0-13 
mm 2 . Similar differentiation between basal and distal parts of the pad, though 
undivided, may be suggested in Trichastoma species, but the differences are 
insignificant. The differentiation of pad 11:2, 111:2, 111:3, an d IV:2 into 2 
parts in poliothorax is thus accompanied by a substantial differentiation in the 
size of papillae. 

There are many similarities between Trichastoma and poliothorax. The 6 
species of Trichastoma show only a minor variation in the length of the digits. 
The lengths in rostratum are exactly the same as in poliothorax. The curvature 
of the claws was studied only in rostratum and poliothorax. In these 2 species, 
the corresponding claws have exactly the same length and curvature. 

In rostratum the long and narrow pads are comparable to those in certain 
species of Turdinae, e.g. the European Robin Erithacus rubecula or the Red- 
start Phoenicurus phoenicurus . The 2 folds near the distal joint in the 4 digits 
are features found in many species of Sylviinae. T. rostratum is thus compar- 
able to species of Muscicapidae which include the ground in their habitat. 
On the other hand the pattern of pads and folds in poliothorax does not occur 
in typical Turdinae or Sylviinae. Instead it is comparable to those found in 
wagtails, genus Moticilla, and pipits, genus Anthus, of the family Motacillidae. 
This does not imply phylogenetic relationship between poliothorax and species 
of the family Motacillidae, only that the pads and folds are adapted to the 
same type of substrate and the same way of using the digits. 

The conclusion from this comparison is that the 6 Trichastoma species, 
with T. rostratum as a described example, are typical arboreal species of 
Muscicapidae which have certain adaptations to live on the ground. Although 
poliothorax also shows adaptations to live on the ground, the differences 
between this species and rostratum are profound. They indicate that polio- 
thorax has an evolutionary history which has for a long time been separated 
from that of Trichastoma. The similarities between poliothorax and Trichas- 
toma probably depend upon convergence and adaptations to similar habitats. 

139 [Bull B.O.C. 1 97 8: 98(4)] 


Members of the genus Trichastoma usually reveal their presence by their 
conspicuous calls. Some duet, or sing in groups. This behaviour is recorded 
by C. F. M. for T. rufipennis, fulvescens and pyrrhopterum , and Chappuis (1975) 
adds cleaveri and poliothorax. 

T. poliothorax has a loud, almost ringing, 7-9 note call, a common form of 
which could be transcribed as 'chee-wee-woo, wee-woo, wee-woo', with 
the second, fourth and sixth syllables stressed. It has an almost oriole-like 
quality. Chappuis (1975) states 'Phrase genre Turdidae ou Oriolidae.'. 
C. F. M. has never recorded group singing or duetting in this species, but 
Chappuis (1975) has published a group song from Mt. Cameroon. 

Three species of Trichastoma {fulvescens^ pyrrhopterum and rufipennis) sym- 
patric with poliothorax in western Kenya produce fairly simple warbling 
songs, usually with a leader, and one or two others contributing chuckles, 
rattles and other harsh notes. A fourth species, albipectus, has a far-carrying 
slow series of 2-4 whistles, usually preceeded by a barely-audible warbling- 
chuckle. All 4 have harsh 'scurring' alarm notes, as has poliothorax. 

A recording of Ptyrticus turdinus (Chappuis 1975) was considered by 
C. F. M. to recall that of poliothorax, but is clearer and louder, and even more 

Discussion and Conclusions 

Differences between poliothorax and typical members of Trichastoma in 
plumage and vocalisations are perhaps of no great significance, but they lend 
weight to our conclusion that poliothorax should be removed from Trichas- 
toma. The unspotted immature plumage suggests that it is not a member of 
the Turdinae, although this is not a constant feature of the subfamily, as 
Modulatrix (Benson & Irwin 1975) and Neocossyphus (specimens in British 
Museum examined by C. F. M.) apparently have unspotted young. 

Having found no close relative for the species we therefore erect a new 
genus, which until further evidence is available, we feel should remain within 
the Timaliinae : 

Kakamega, gen. nov. 

Type species: Kakamega poliothorax (Reichenow). 

Diagnosis: A smallish oscine (mean weight of 16 of both sexes, 36-38 g) 
with the general characteristics of the tribe Pellorneini of the sub-family 
Timaliinae. It differs from the typical members of the genus Trichastoma 
as follows : 

(a) rictal bristles much reduced; 

(b) tongue longer relative to bill, and of 'IP-shaped cross-section; 

(c) skull shape wider in relation to length, and more tapering; 

(d) the angle in the dorsal anterior quadrant of the intersection of post- 
orbital ligament and jugal bar considerably greater (112 compared to 

87-95 ); 

(e) in the structure of the jaw muscles M. adductor mandibulae externus 
and M. pterygoideus. 

(f) in the structure of the foot pads 11:2, 111:2, 111:3, and IV :z. 

(g) in the lengths of basal phalanges in the anterior digits. (In the pattern 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 140 

of pads and folds it also differs from all studied members of Sylviinae and 

(h) feathering finer and closer than Trichastoma. 

(i) Vocalisations. 

Acknowledgement: We are extremely grateful to C. W. Benson for his very helpful and 
thorough criticism of this paper. 

References : 

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Chappuis, C. 1975. Illustration sonore de problems bioacoustique poses par les oiseaux 
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Keith, S., Twomey, A., Friedmann, H. & Williams, J. 1969. The avifauna of the Impene- 
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— 1975 b. A functional study of papillae and pads in the foot of passerines, parrots and 
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— 1975 c. Seasonal variation in foot papillae of wood pigeon, pheasant and house sparrow. 
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Zimmerman, D. A. 1972. The avifauna of the Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya, including 

a bird population study. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 149: 257-339. 

Addresses: C. F. Mann, City of London Polytechnic, Old Castle Street, London E.i. 
Dr. P. J. K. Burton, British Museum (Natural History), Tring, Hertfordshire, England. 
I. Lennerstedt, Zoological Institute, University of Lund, Sweden. 

Vocal mimicry in the lark Mirafra hypermetra as a 
possible species-isolating mechanism 

by Franc oise Dowsett-Lemaire <& R. J. Dow sett 

Received is March 1978 
The lark Mirafra hypermetra is usually considered to be a good species by 
ornithologists in East Africa (e.g. Williams 1963: 180), but no justification 
for this appears to have been published. Hall & Moreau (1970: Map 7) treat 
m. hypermetra and M. africana as separate species, though without great 
conviction. In a review of M. africana {sensu latu) White (i960: 8-9) has 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

described the considerable differences in size, structure and colour pattern 
between africana and hypermetra. He considers that the race gallarum links the 
two and provides evidence for their being conspecific, which is how he 
treats them in his Check List (White 1961 : 13). However, he does admit the 
need for more research in the field to confirm these conclusions. 

During a visit to Kenya in December 1976 we found considerable differ- 
ences in the vocalisations of africana and hypermetra, the latter being a very 
accomplished mimic. 


In Kenya F. D.- L. was able to make tape recordings of the songs of africana 
and hypermetra, using an Uher 4000 recorder. The tapes have subsequently 
been analysed on a Kay sonograph. 

Mirafra africana. The song in Kenya consists of a succession of short 
whistled phrases, regularly spaced, such as those of a bird at Naro Moru 
near Mount Kenya (o° 10' S, 37 01 ' E.) (Fig. iA). Each phrase lasts about 

Fig. 1. The songs of Mirafra africana and M. hypermetra, recorded in Kenya. Sonograms of: 
(A) song (simple whistle) of africana; (B) a song phrase of M. hypermetra, preceded by imita- 
tion of three notes of Merops super ciliosus; (C) authentic call of Merops s. super ciliosus 
(Livingstone, Zambia) ; (D) authentic call of M . s. persicus (Blue Lagoon, Zambia) ; (E) a 
song phrase of M. hypermetra, ending with imitation of the song of Caprimulgus donaldsoni; 
(F) authentic song of C. donaldsoni (Kenya: Myles North); (G) authentic song of Cisticola 
cinereola (Tsavo, Kenya); (H) imitation (shortened version) of song of C. cinereola by M. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 


o • 6 seconds, and is separated from the next by an interval of 2 seconds. The 
same phrase, very monotonous to the human ear, may be repeated 20 times 
or more, before the singer changes to another motif. In our experience 
the Kenya song is very similar to that uttered by afrkana in Zambia. (Benson 
(1948 : 56) has reported an apparent similarity between the voices of Kenyan 
and Rhodesian birds.) 

We did not notice any 'flappeting' by afrkana in Kenya, although we fre- 
quently observed such behaviour by territorial males of the montane race 
M. afrkana nyikae on the Nyika Plateau (Malawi/ Zambia) in December 1977 
and D. R. Aspinwall has occasionally noticed 'flappeting' by individuals of 
lowland races in southern Zambia. 'Flappeting' by afrkana involves a male 
jumping a few cm into the air from his song post and vibrating his wings, 
producing a short burst of sound much like that made by the lark Mirafra 

The song of afrkana is usually devoid of imitations, and we noticed none 
in Kenya. However, it has been found to mimic on rare occasions elsewhere 
(Took 1 96 1, Vernon 1973), though its efforts are clearly not elaborate. The 
occurrence of imitation in the songs of at least 5 African species of lark 
(Vernon 1973) suggests that the use of mimicry may not necessarily indicate 
close relationship. 

Mirafra hypermetra. We found this form common on 2 December on the 
plains of Tsavo West National Park, in the area between Mzima Springs 
and Kilaguni (2 50' S, 3 8° 00' E). Males were singing from the tops of 
isolated thorn bushes, in a habitat in which the other dominant lark was 
Mirafra albicauda. Their voices were extremely powerful, carrying several 
hundred metres, and three birds we observed closely were clearly answering 
each other. 

In contrast to the monotonous whistles of afrkana, the song of hypermetra 
is strikingly attractive and varied. In part this is due to its considerable 
ability to imitate other species, but its own basic repertoire is also more 
elaborate. Mimicry by hypermetra appears to receive no mention in the litera- 
ture, except in passing by Lack (1977 : 38). During 1 5 minutes tape recording 
we could identify imitations of 20 different species (Table 1). Most of these 
were later sonographed for confirmation, and each is a common bird in this 
part of Tsavo, 4 or 5 of them being Palaearctic migrants. 

Species recorded in the imitative song of Mirafra hypermetra 


Phasianidae : Francolinus sephaena 
Otididae : Eupodotis ruficrista 
Charadriidae : Vanellus coronatus 
Scolopacidae : Tringa glareola 
Caprimulgidae : Caprimulgus donaldsoni 
Coliidae : Colius macrourus 
Meropidae : Merops superciliosus 
Bucerotidae: Tockus nasutus 


Alaudidae: Mirafra albicauda 

M. poecilosterna 
Hirundinidae: Hirundo rustica 
H. abyssinica 
Delichon urbica 
Sylviidae : Cisticola cinereola 
Malaconotidae : Tchagra senegala 
Motacillidae : Motacilla flava 
Sturnidae: Spreo superbus 

Buphagus erythrorhynchus 
Ploceidae : Plocepasser mahali 
Estrildidae : Ortygospi^a atricollis 

143 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

The imitations are usually very short, often less than one second, and are 
interspersed with notes of the proper song. Fig. iB illustrates 3 calls of the 
bee-eater Merops superciliosus imitated by hypermetra, followed by its own 
song phrase. To demonstrate the fidelity of this imitation, sonograms C and 
D in Fig. 1 show respectively the calls of the Malagasy/Ethiopian nominate 
Merops and of the Palaearctic M. s.psrsicus, from recordings made in Zambia. 
The calls of these 2 bee-eaters appear, in fact, to be nearly identical, and lend 
no support to the suggestion that the 2 races should be considered separate 
species. Similarly, sonograms E and F show the exact copy and the genuine 
song of the nightjar Caprimulgus donaldsoni, and G and H the genuine and the 
exact copy of the song of the warbler Cisticola cinereola. 

One phrase of 12 seconds from a singing hypermetra contained short 
imitations of 5 different species, mingled with the lark's own whistles. 
Phrases are on average noticeably longer than those of africana : 7 1 phrases 
from one singer lasted 1-1 5 sees (mean 3 • 8), with intervals of 1-1 1 sees 
(mean 3-0), and 70 phrases from another bird lasted 1-5 sees (mean 2-3), 
with intervals of 1-3 • 5 sees (mean 2 • 1). This variability in length of phrases 
and intervals also contributes to the overall impression of variety in the 
song of hypermetra. Moreover, phrases were not repeated in succession more 
than 3 or 4 times; the singer would either alter the previous motif with some 
variation, or switch to a completely different song phrase. Often phrases 
would be copied by neighbouring singers, and clearly imitation formed an 
important component of the song in this population. It remains to be dis- 
covered if this is the case throughout the range of hypermetra. 

Ecological allopatry 

We have not reinvestigated the question of subspecific limits within 
Mirafra africana {sensu latu), which have been discussed in detail by White 
(1956, 1959, i960, 1961); but with the exception of the possibly anomalous 
gallarum (skins of which seem to us to be closest to hypermetra) and kathan- 
gorensis, there seems little evidence to warrant uniting hypermetra and africana 
specifically. Even in a family in which morphological characters are greatly 
influenced by environment, the differences in size and structure, and the 
distinctive chest markings of hypermetra (clearly visible in territorial males), 
should normally be enough to warrant their specific separation. Songs may 
be even more important as species-isolating mechanisms, and our observa- 
tions suggest that those of hypermetra and africana are so dissimilar as to 
preclude interbreeding. 

At Naro Moru near Mount Kenya we thought we saw and heard hyper- 
metra on 4 December: the bird was large, with strikingly clear chest patches 
and a varied, imitative song. Although this is at a considerably higher 
altitude than hypermetra has been reported before (c 2000 m), it was in dry 
scrub vegetation. Unfortunately we could not find this bird again to tape 
record it next day, but only 800 m distant we found a typical male africana 
in song, to which we played a brief tape of hypermetra song, but with no signi- 
ficant response. The possibility of sympatry in this area needs to be investi- 
gated further. 

Normally hypermetra is found at a lower altitude than africana, on semi -a 
plains with scattered thorn bushes, from the tops of which it sings. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 144 

contrast, africana occurs on the cooler high-altitude grasslands, where it 
sings from a variety of perches and even on the ground. 

White (i960: 9) has remarked on a specimen of hypermetra from Loliondo 
in Tanzania (2 03' S, 35 40' E), apparently from the same general area as 
africana, but at a lower altitude. If altitudinal segregation is found to be the 
rule in areas where sympatry is approached, and evidence of regular hybridi- 
sation is lacking, this would seem to argue for specific distinctness. White 
has pointed out that it is unusual for a low-altitude subspecies to be so much 
larger than adjacent highland relations; this is contrary to Bergmann's Rule, 
and is a further indication that we may be dealing with 2 genetically distinct 

Hybridisation between morphologically similar species, which normally 
have distinctive vocalisations, can occur if an individual male produces a 
mixed song (Lemaire 1977). However, occasional hybridisation under such 
conditions need not mean that such forms are conspecific. 

Clearly more field observation is required, particularly where there is 
possible sympatry between hypermetra and africana, of vocalisations, the 
incidence of mimicry and other isolating mechanisms, especially of forms of 
supposed doubtful affinity, such as gallarum. Meanwhile, we feel that M. 
africana and M. hypermetra are most conveniently considered separate species. 

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Professor J.-C. Ruwet and the Laboratoire d'Etho- 
logie et de Psychologie animale, University of Liege, Belgium, for the use of sonograph 
facilities. Mr. C. W. Benson has kindly commented on a draft of this paper. 

References : 

Benson, C. W. 1948. Geographical voice- variation in African birds. Ibis 90: 48-71. 

Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. London : 

British Museum (Natural History). 
Lack, P. C. 1977. The status of Friedmann's Bush-Lark Mirafra pulpa. Scopus 1: 34-39. 
Lemaire, F. 1977. Mixed song, interspecific competition and hybridisation in the Reed 

and Marsh Warblers {Acrocephalus scirpaceus and palustris). Behaviour 63: 215-240. 
Took, J. M. E. 1 96 1. Imitation by Mirafra africana. Ostrich 32: 93-94. 
Vernon, C. J. 1973. Vocal imitation by Southern African birds. Ostrich 44: 23-30. 
White, C. M. N. 1956. Notes on African Larks — Part III. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 76: 120-124. 

— 1959. The limits of the genus Mirafra. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 79: 163-166. 

— 1 960. Some inter-relationships in the larks of the Mirafra africana group. Bull. Brh. 
Orn. CI. 80: 7-10. 

— 1 96 1. A Revised Check List of African Broadbills, Pittas, Larks, Swallows, Wagtails and 
Pipits. Lusaka: Government Printer. 

Williams, J. G. 1963. A Field Guide to the Birds of East and Central Africa. London: Collins. 

Address: R. J. Dowsett & Francoise Dowsett-Lemaire, Livingstone Museum, P.O. Box 
498, Livingstone, Zambia. 

Records of migrants from Grand Cayman Island 

by Jon C. Barlow 

Received 21 March 1978 

Between 23 April and 1 May 1974 Michael McNall and I studied vireos on 
Grand Cayman, the largest and western-most of the three Cayman Islands. 
In the course of our field work several noteworthy records were obtained 
which serve further to clarify the status of certain migratory or far ranging 

145 [Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 

birds in the western Caribbean and expand upon data in the annotated 
avifaunal list of Cayman Islands birds by Johnston et al. (1971). 

Cathartes aura Turkey Vulture. One was reported as present in the 
northwest peninsula of the island from early Dec, moving to the east side 
towards the end of April. We did not see it. Johnston et al. threw doubt 
on its occurrence on Grand Cayman, mentioning that it may have been 
seen by English (19 16). 

Chlidonias niger Black Tern. 10 noted at Meagre Bay Pond on 29 April. 
Johnston et al. report 4 specimens of G. n. surinamensis taken on Grand 
Cayman on 7.ix.i96i by A. Schwartz. 

Chaetura pelagica Chimney Swift. Two seen foraging above a mangrove 
swamp in the company of Caribbean Martins Progne dominicensis south of 
George Town in late afternoon on 28 April. Johnston et al. give only one 
record, 12 May 1965. 

Ceryle alcyon Belted Kingfisher. Observed daily: on 27 April, 5 were seen 
along a road through a mangrove swamp south of George Town. Johnston 
et al. considered it an uncommon winter visitor, previously recorded only 
between November and 9 April. 

Catharus fuscescens Veery. Two individuals (ROM 12 146 5, 9> skull 
pneumatized, granular ovary 8 x4 mm, 30 g, heavy fat; ROM 1 21466, q\ 
skull pneumatized, testis 2x2 mm, 26-3 g, light fat) were netted at the edge 
of a mangrove swamp 2 km south of George Town on 28 April. Only one 
previous record, one on 2.V.1970 (Johnston et al.). 

Bombycilla cedrorum Cedar Waxwing. Three seen feeding on small 
reddish fruits in a tree on 27 April. The first report for Grand Cayman; one 
was taken on Little Cayman on 29.iv.1888 (Johnston et al.). 

Vireo a. altiloquus Black-whiskered Vireo. A $ (ROM 12 145 4, skull 
pneumatized, left testis 5 x 3 mm, 1 5 • 4 g, light fat) netted on 26 April at the 
edge of a mangrove swamp 2 km south George Town is the first record of 
this race; 2 specimens not identified to race, are reported by Johnston et al. 

V. a. barbatulus, which is phenotypically quite distinct from V. a. altiloquus, 
occurs in this part of the Caribbean on Little Cayman and Cayman Brae 
c 120 km to the east, and also on Cuba 290 km to the north. V. magister 
caymanensis, the Yucatan Vireo, which is resident on Grand Cayman, 
differs conspicuously in plumage characters from either of the races of V. 
altiloquus in question. It is most likely that ROM 12 145 4 was vagrant from 
Jamaica, c 290 km to the southeast, where V. a. altiloquus, which is migra- 
tory, is a common breeding form. 

Dendroica castanea Bay-breasted Warbler. A <$ was seen on 27 April 
in company with a pair of Cuban Bullfinches Melopyrrha nigra. Only 2 other 
sight records are available: October 1956 and 2.V.1970 (Johnston et al.). 

Dendroica striata Blackpoll Warbler. 5-10 seen daily in mangrove and 
drier woodland. A <j> (ROM 121 5 17, skull pneumatized, granular ovary 
4x2 mm, 10 -4 g, light fat) was netted on 29.iv.1974. Johnston et al. listed 
only 2 specimens, taken 20.ix.1889 an< ^ 18.iv.1892. It seems likely that the 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1978: 98(4)] 146 

Blackpoll is of annual occurrence, but since Johnston and others have not 
previously observed it in autumn, winter or spring, it may occur on Grand 
Cayman only briefly each year. 

Icterus galbula Northern Oriole. On 28 April I saw a <$ flying parallel to 
a secondary road passing through a mangrove swamp 2 km south of George 
Town. The only previous record was of a bird held briefly in captivity by 
Ira Thompson beginning on 5.^.1971 (Johnston et al.). 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Mr. Vernie Bernard, Chief Agricultural Officer of the 
Cayman Islands for permits and other aid which facilitated my studies. I am also grateful 
to Dr. David W. Johnston, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, for wise counsel 
concerning fieldwork on Grand Cayman. Mr. Ira Thompson, the resident naturalist of the 
Cayman Islands, gave me much benefit of his knowledge of local birds. I am especially 
grateful to Michael McNall, Department of Ornithology, Royal Ontario Museum, for his 
assistance in the field. Dr. David Barr read the manuscript and made several suggestions for 
improvement. Research on vireos was supported by the National Research Council of 
Canada Grant A 3 47 2. 

References : 

English, T. M. S. 1916. Notes on some birds of Grand Cayman, W. I. Ibis Ser. 10 (4): 17-35. 
Johnston, D. W., Blake, C. H. & Buden, D. W. 1971. Avifauna of the Cayman Islands. 
Quart. Jour. Florida Acad. Sri. 34: 141-156. 

Address: Dr. Jon C. Barlow, Department of Ornithology, Royal Ontario Museum, and 
Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C1, Canada. 

Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature : Opinions 

In continuation of Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 98, 1978: 31, and by permission of the International 
Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, the following Ruling is quoted as an extract from an 
Opinion published in Bull. Zool. Nomencl. affecting birds : 


{Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 34(4), 1978: 205) 

Conservation of Geositta peruviana Lafresnaye, 1847 and Geosiita paytae Menegaux & 
Hellmayr, 1906 (Aves). 

(1) Under the plenary powers, the specific name pay tensis Lesson, 1837, as published in 
the binomen Anthus pay tensis, is hereby suppressed for the purposes of the Law of Priority 
but not for those of the Law of Homonymy. 

(2) The following names are placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology 
with the Name Numbers specified: 

(a) peruviana Lafresnaye, 1 847, as published in the binomen Geositta peruviana (Name 
Number 2627); 

(b) paytae Menegaux & Hellmayr, 1906, as published in the binomen Geositta paytae 
(Name Number 2628). 

(3) The specific name pay tensis Lesson, 1 837, as published in the binomen Anthus pay tensis, 
as suppressed under the plenary powers in (1) above, is hereby placed on the Official Index 
of Rejected and Invalid Specific Names in Zoology with the Name Number 1024. 

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of the 



Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 99 



It is satisfactory to report that Volume 99 has contained 156 pages despite the prospect 
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ance of errors and delays. 



P. Hogg, Chairman (1977) 
Dr. G. Beven, Vice-Chairman (1977) 
Dr. J. F. Monk, Editor (19 76) 
R. E. F. ~PBAL,Hon. Secretary (1971) 
Mrs. D. M. Bradley, Hon. Treasurer '(1978) 
C. E. Wheeler (1975) 

B. Gray (1977) 

C. F.Mann (1977) 
P. J. Oliver (1978) 

P. Hogg, Chairman (1977) 
Dr. G. Beven, Vice-Chairman (1977) 
Dr. J. F. Monk, Editor (1976) 
R. E. F. Peal,//o«. Secretary (197 1) 
Mrs. D. M. Bradley, Hon. Treasurer (1978) 

B. Gray (1977) 

C. F. Mann (1977) 

R. D. Chancellor (1979) 
J. G.Parker (1979) 



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Yamashina, Dr. Yoshimaro, c/o Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, 8-20 Nampeidai- 

machi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150 Japan. (Member 1 939-1 947). 


Forrester, R. W. ; Furniss, Dr. W. T. ; Heigham, J. B.; Irwin, M. P. S.; Kendall, Dr. 
Marion D.; Lewis, Dr. A. D.; Lock, Dr. J. M.;.Oatley, T. B.; Orton, D. A.; Parrott, 
J. R.; Payne, M. R.; Ridland, J. R. J.; Sugg, M. St. J.; Took, J. M. E.; Wayre, P.; 
Wheater, R. J. 

Removed from Membership 

Al-Azzawy, B. M.; Bunting, G. C. ; Cole, L. R.; Collier, G. ; Cook, S. G. ; Dawson, 
L. R. ; de Naurois, Prof. R. ; Dooremans, H. P. ; Farrand, J., Jnr. ; Maher Ali, A. ; 
Morrison, Dr. R. G. ; O'Mahony, B. ; Waite, R. K. 


The Committee much regrets to record the deaths of the following Members :- 

Dr. D. A. Bannerman, o.b.e., m.a., sc.d., ll.d., f.r.s. e. (Editor 1914-1915, Hon. Secretary 

and Treasurer 1918-1919, Chairman 193 2- 1935, Vice-Chairman 19 39-1 940) 
Mr. C. S. Barlow, 
Lady Gwendolin Chadwyck-Healey 
Dr. F. Gudmundsson 
Baron Charles M. G de Worms, ph.d., f.r.i.c. 




Lord Rothschild 
W. L. Sclater 


Dr. P. R. Lowe 
Maj. S. S. Flower 
Dr. D. A. Bannerman 
G. M. Mathews 
Dr. A. Landsborough 

D. Seth-Smith 



Dr. J. M. Harrison 1946-1950 

Sir Philip Manson-Bahr 1950-195 3 

Col. R. Meinertzhagen 195 3—1956 

C. W. Mackworth-Praed 1956-1959 

Capt. C. R. S. Pitman 1959-1962 
Maj. -Gen. C. B. Wainwright 1962-1965 

R. S. R. Fitter 1965-1968 

Dr. J. F. Monk 1968-1971 

Sir Hugh Elliott 1971-1974 

J. H. Elgood 1974-1977 

P. Hogg 1977- 

Lord Rothschild 

W. L. Sclater 


G. M. Mathews 

N. B. Kinnear 

H. Whistler 

D. Seth-Smith 

Col. R. Sparrow 

Dr. G. Carmichael Low 

Hon. Guy Charteris 

W. L. Sclater 

Dr. D. A. Bannerman 

Capt. C. H. B. Grant 

B. W. Tucker 

F. J. F. Barrington 
Dr. E. Hopkinson 

C. W. Mackworth-Praed 


1930-1931 Dr. J. M. Harrison 1945-1946 

1931-1932 Sir Philip Manson-Bahr 1946-1947 

1932-1933 B.G.Harrison 1946-1947 

1933-1934 Lt.-Col. W. P. C. Tenison 1947-1948 

1934-193 5 Miss E. M. Godman 1 947-1 948 

1935-1936 Col. R. Meinertzhagen 1948-1949 

1936-1937 Maj. A. G. L. Sladen 1948-1949 

1937-1938 Col. R. Meinertzhagen 1949-1953 

1938-1939 E.M.Nicholson 1953-1956 

1938-1939 Capt. C. R. S. Pitman 1956-1959 

1939-1940 Mrs. B. P. Hall 1959-1962 

1939-1940 R. S. R. Fitter 1962-1965 

1940-1943 Dr. J. F. Monk 1965-1968 

1940-1943 Sir Hugh Elliott 1968-1971 

1943-1945 J. H. Elgood 1971-1974 

1943-1945 P.Hogg 1974-1977 

1945-1946 Dr. G. Beven 1 917~ 


R. Bowdler-Sharpe 
W. R. Ogilvie-Grant 
Dr. D. A. Bannerman 
D. Seth-Smith 
Dr. P. R. Lowe 
N. B. Kinnear 
Dr. G. Carmichael Low 
Capt. C. H. B. Grant 


Dr. G. Carmichael Low 1 940-1 945 

Lt.-Col. W. P. C. Tenison 1945-1947 

Capt. C. H. B. Grant 1947-1952 

Dr. J. G. Harrison 1952-1961 

J. J. Yealland 1962-1969 

C. W. Benson 1969-1974 

Sir Hugh Elliott 1974-1975 

Dr. J. F. Monk T976- 

Honorary Secretaries and Treasurers 

Howard Saunders 
W. E. de Winton 


Dr. P. R. Lowe 

C. G. Talbot-Ponsonby 

Dr. D. A. Bannerman 


Dr. Philip Gosse 

J. L. Bonhote 

C. W. Mackworth-Praed 

Dr. G. Carmichael Low 

C. W. Mackworth-Praed 


Honorary Secretaries 

Dr. A. Landsborough 

C. R. Stonor 
N. B. Kinnear 
Dr. G. Carmichael Low 
Lt.-Col. W. P. C. Tenison 
Capt. C. H. B. Grant 
W. E. Glegg 

C. W. Mackworth-Praed 
Maj. A. G. L. Sladen 
Miss E. P. Leach 
C. N. Walter 

Miss G. M. Rhodes 



N. J. P. Wadley 


1 93 8-1940 

Miss E. Forster 


1 940-1 943 

Dr. J. G. Harrison 



C. J. O. Harrison 



M. W. Woodcock 



D. R. Calder 


1 947-1 949 

R. E. F. Peal 





P. Tate 



M. St. J. Sugg 


1 942-1 949 

Mrs. D. M. Bradley 




Accounts, 1978... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 4-5 

Annual General Meeting ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1,41 

Aspinwall, D. R. 

See Stjernstedt 

Baird, D. A. 

Twenty-eight additions to Archer & Godman's 'Birds of British Somaliland 

and the Gulf of Aden' ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 6-9 


See Wilson 

Bond, Gorman M. 
See Ripley 

Books Received 40,156 

Boswall, J. H. R. 

An address on mutual mimics, men as birds and birds as men ... ... 3 

Breitwisch, R. 

Allopreening by the Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata ... ... 114 

Brooke, R. K. 

Two overlooked vagrants from the Tristan da Cunha group ... ... ... 81-82 

Brooke, R. K. and Steyn, Peter 

The white rumped swift seen at the Agalegas and migrations of the Horus 

Swift Apus horus ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 155 

Chang, W. F. and Severinghaus, S. R. 

Notes on the Yellow Tit Parus hoist i with discovery of its nest ... ... 54-56 

Clark, A. 

Variations in the external features of the Spur- winged Goose ... ... ... 83-86 


Bird weights from northeastern Argentina ... ... ... ... ... 21-24 

Committee, Report for 1978 1-3 

Davison, G. W. H. 

Alleged occurrence of Rheinartia ocellata in Sumatra ... ... ... ... 80-8 1 


Recent additions to the Zambian list 94-98 

Dowsett, R. J. and Stjernstedt, R. 

TheBradypterus cinnamomeus-mariae complex in Central Africa ... ... 86-94 

Ebenhard, N. T. 

First record in the Seychelles of Northern Pintail Anas acuta acuta ... ... 3 9-40 

England, M. D. 

An illustrated address on the birds of the Seychelles group of islands ... ... 41 

Erard, C. 

What in reality is Anthreptes pujoli Berlioz? ... ... ... ... ... 142-143 

Farkas, T. 

A further note on the status of Monticola pretoriae Gunning & Roberts, 1 9 1 1 ... 20-21 

Feare, C. J. 

Apuspacificus in the Seychelles ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 5-77 

Field, G. D. 

The Laniarius bushshrikes in Sierra Leone ... ... ... ... ... 42-44 

The genus Criniger (Pycnonotidae) in Africa ... ... ... ... ... 5 7-5 9 

Fuller, Errol 

Hybridization amongst the Paradiseidae ... ... ... ... ... 145-152 

Garcia, E. F. J. 

An illustrated address on the birds of Gibraltar 115 

Gochfeld, Michael 

Nest description and plumage variation of the Sepia-brown Wren Cinny- 

certhia peruana ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 45-47 

Gore, M. E. K. 

An illustrated address on the birds of The Gambia ... ... ... ... 115 

Gorman, Martyn L. 

The avifauna of the exotic pinewoods of VitiLevu, Fiji Islands ... ... 9-12 

Greenwood, Julian G. 

Post-mortem shrinkage of Dunlin Calidris alpina skins ... ... ... ... 143-145 

Grimes, L. G. 

Sexual dimorphism in the Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina and in other 

African shrikes (subfamily Laniinae) ... ... ... ... ... ... 33-36 

The Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina: an abnormal host of the Yellow- 
billed Cuckoo Cuculus gularis ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 36-38 

Hanmer, D. B. 

An undescribed subspecies of Rudd's Apalis Apalis ruddi from southern 

Malawi 27-28 

The Grey Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii in southern Malawi ... ... ... 71-72 

Harvey, W. G. 

An illustrated address on ornithology and conservation in Indonesia ... 83 

Hirsch, Udo 

Protection of Geronticus eremita ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 39 

Holmes, D. A. 


Hunn, Eugene S. 
See Remsen 

Ingels, J. 

Natal pterylosis of three Tbraupi s tanagets ... ... ... ... ... 12-15 

Remarks on specimens, holotype, description and subspecies of Cblorophonia 

dentirostris Sclater 77 _8 ° 

Lawley, J. C. 

The European Swift Apusapus on Assumption Island ... ... ... ... 153 

Macdonald, M. A. 
See Taylor 

McAlpine, David K. 

The correct name and authority for Wallace's Standard Wing (Passeriformes, 

Paradiseidae) 108-110 

Mason, I. J. 

See Schodde 


An address on ornithology in south-east Asia ... ... ... ... ... 3 

Nicholson, E. M. 

An address on the role of British ornithologists in Europe ... ... ... 3 

Olson, Storrs L. 

Picathartes - another West African forest relict with probable Asian affinities 11 2-1 13 

Parkes, Kenneth C. 

A new northern subspecies of the Tropical Gnatcatcher Polioptila plumbea ... 72-75 

Parslow, J. L. F. 

An address on the function of the R.S. P. B. in British ornithology ... ... 3 

Paton, Penny 

The Atlas of Australian Birds: an appeal for data from museum collections ... 82 

Peakall, David B. 

An address on toxic chemicals and fish-eating birds in the Great Lakes ... 41 

Peirce, M. A. 

Some additional observations on haematozoa of birds in the Mascarene 

Islands ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 68-71 

Penry, E. H. 

Sight records of the Sooty Falcon Falco concolor in Zambia ... ... ... 63-65 

A note on the status of Falco concolor in southeastern Africa ... ... ... 156 


Sula leucogaster and other species in the lies Mitsios, Madagascar ... ... 110-111 

Pratt, H. Douglas 

A new subspecies of the Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis, from the Island of 

Hawaii ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 105-108 

Remsen, Jr., J. V. and Hunn, Eugene S. 

First records of Sporophila caerulescens from Colombia; a probable long 

distance migrant from southern South America ... ... ... ... 24-26 

Ripley, S. Dillon and Bond, Gorman M. 

A third set of additions to the avifauna of Angola ... ... ... ... 140-142 

Schodde, Richard, Smith, G. T., Mason, I. J. and Weatherly, R. G. 

Relationship and speciation in the Australian corellas (Psittacidae) ... ... 128-137 

Schreiber, Ralph W. 

The egg and nest of the Bokikokiko Acrocephalus aequinoctialis ... . . . 1 20- 1 24 


Notes on the song, territorial behaviour and the display of the Antillean 

Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis of St. Lucia, W.I. ... 30-3 2 

Notes on sexual dimorphism and the nest of the Greenish Puffleg Haplo- 
phaedia aureliae caucensis ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 59-60 

Sevekinghaus, S. R. 
See Chang 

Sick, Helmut 

Notes on some Brazilian birds ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1 15-120 

Smith, G. T. 

See Schodde 

Snow, D. W. 

Atlas of speciation in African non-passerine birds - Addenda and Corrigenda 66-68 

Somadikarta, S. and Holmes, D. A. 

An influx of Australian pelicans Pelecanus conspicillatus in Indonesia ... ... 154 

Steyn, Peter 
See Brooke 

Stjernstedt, R. and Aspinwall, D. R. 

The nest and eggs of the Bar-winged Weaver Ploceus angolensis 138-140 

See also Dowsett 

Stokes, Tony 

On the possible existence of the New Caledonian Wood Rail Tricholimnas 

lafresnayanus ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 47-54 

Stonehouse, B. 

An address on penguins and flightlessness in birds ... ... ... ... 83 

Taylor, I. R. and Macdonald, M. A. 

A population of A.nthus similis on the Togo range in eastern Ghana ... ... 29-30 

Taylor, R. C. 

Moult of the Long-billed Ringed Plover Charadrius placidus ... ... ... 98-102 

Walters, Michael 

Eggs from the collections of E. L. Layard ... ... ... ... ... 40 

Warman, S. R. 

The Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii arideensis on Aride Island, Seychelles ... 1 24-1 28 

Watson, J. 

Clutch size of Seychelles' endemic land birds ... ... ... ... ... 102-105 

Weatherly, R. G. 
See Schodde 

Wells, D. R. 

Black Kites Milvus migrans in Sumatra ... ... ... ... ... ... 56-57 

\\ 11 son, R.T. and Ball, D.M. 

Morphometry, wing loading and food of western Darfur birds ... ... 15-20 

(Compiled by C. W. Benson and F. M. Benson) 

All generic and specific names {of birds only) are indexed. Sub specific names are included only if new 
and are also indexed in bold print together with the generic and specific names. 

abyssinica, Coracias 18 
abyssinicus, Bucorvus 19 

— Turtur 17 
Accipiter badius 16 

— rufitorques 1 1 
Acridotheres fuscus 1 1 

— ■ tristis 1 1 
Acrocephalus aequinoctialis 120-124 

— ■ arundinaceus 123 

— ■ familiaris 123 

— • palustris 123 
Actophilornis africanus 7 
acuta, Anas 39, 98 
adsimilis, Dicrurus 36, 141 
aedon, Troglodytes 23 
aegyptius, Caprimulgus 8 
aequatorialis, Androdon 60 
aequinoctialis, Acrocephalus 120-124 

— Geothlypis 23 
aeruginosus, Circus 66 
aethiopica, Threskiornis 66 
aethiopicus, Laniarius 42-44 
afer, Ptilostomus 19 

— Turtur 28 
affinis, Apus 7 5 
africanus, Actophilornis 7 

— Bubo 67 
Afropavo 1 1 3 
Agapornis pullaria 17 
Agelaius cyanopus 23 

— ruficapillus 119 
Ailuroedus crassirostris 146 

— melanotis 146 
alba, Calidris 144 

— Motacilla 141 

— Tyton,i26 
albilora, Polioptila 72 
albus, Corvus 19 
Alcedo quadribrachys 67 

— semitorquata 67 
Alectroenas pulcherrima 102-103 
Alopochen 86 

alpina, Calidris 143-145 
amabilis, Vini 1 1 
Amandava amandava 1 1 
amandava, Amandava 1 1 
amaurochalinus, Turdus 23 
Amazonetta brasiliensis 22 
americana, Chloroceryle 22 

— Sporophila2 5 
Ammodramus humeralis 24 

amurensis, Falco 64 
analis, Coracina 5 2 
Anas acuta 39, 98 

— capensis 66 

— querquedula 39, 66, 95 
Anastomus lamelligerus 7 
anchietae, Anthreptes 141 
Androdon aequatorialis 60 
angolensis, Hirundo 141 

— Ploceus 138-140 
angustirostris, Lepidocolaptes 22 
ani, Crotophaga 22 

annumbi, Anumbius 22 
Anomalospiza imberbis 142 
Anous stolidus in, 126 
Anthreptes anchietae 141 

— fraseri 142 

— gabonicus 142 

— pallidigaster 142 

— pujoli 142-143 

— rectirostris 142-143 

— reichenowi 27 
Anthus similis 29 
Antilophia galeata 119 
Anumbius annumbi 22 
Apalis flavida 28, 141 

— ruddi 27-28, 72 

Apalis ruddi caniviridis, subsp. nov. 27 

Apalis thoracica 28 

Apaloderma narina 28 

apiaster, Merops 8 

Aplonis tabuensis 1 1 

Aplopelia larvata 67 

apoda, Paradisea 146, 151 

approximans, Circus 1 1 

Apus affinis 75 

— apus 75, 153 

— barbatus 153 

— horus 76, 155 

— pacificus 75-76, 155 
apus, Apus 75, 153 
Aquila nipalensis 95, 98 

— pomarina98 

— rapax 66 
araea, Falco 102-103 
Archboldia papuensis 147 
Ardea goliath 66 

— humbloti 66 

— melanocephala 6 
Ardeola ibis 16 

— ralloides 7 

ardesiaca, Egretta 94 
ardosiaceus, Falco 63-65 
Arenaria interpres 144 
argentatus, Larus 144-145 
argus, Argusianus 80-81 
Argusianus argus 80-81 
ariel, Fregata 1 1 1 , 127 
arminjoniana, Pterodroma 69 
arquatrix, Columba 67 
Arremon flavirostris 24 
Artamus leucorhynchus 1 1 
Artomyias fuliginosa 141 
arundinaceus, Acrocephalus 123 
Arundinicola leucocephala 23 
Astrapia mayeri 146, 151 

— nigra 148, 151 

— stephania 146, 151 
astrapioides, Epimachus 146, 148, 151 
Astrarchia barnesi 146-147, 151 
Athene cunicularia 22 

Atticora melanoleuca 119 
aurantius, Ploceus 141 
aureliae, Haplophaedia 59-61 
aureola, Pipra 118 
auritus, Nettapus83 
australis' Synoicus 1 1 
azureocapilla, Myiagra 1 1 

badius, Accipiter 16 

— Molothrus 23 

— Phodilus 113 
bailleui, Loxioides 106 
bailloni, Baillonius 115, 118 
Baillonius bailloni 115, 118 
Balearica pavonina 67 
barbarus, Laniarius 19, 42-43 
barbatus, Apus 153 

— Criniger 57-59 

— Pycnonotus 36-37 
barnesi, Astrarchia 146-147, 1 5 1 
barratti, Bradypterus 86, 93 
Batis fratrum 27 

Bebrornis sechellensis 41, 103-104 
bellicosa, Hirundinea 23 
bengala, Estrilda 19 
benghalensis, Rostratula 7 
bensbachi, Janthothorax 1 50-1 5 1 
Berlepschia rickeri 115, 118 
bicolor, Ploceus 138 
Bleda syndactyla 143 
bloodi, Paradisea 146-147, 151 
boehmi, Merops 28 

— Myopornis 141 

— Neafrapus 67 
bonariensis, Molothrus 23, 120 
borbonica, Phedina 75 

— Zosterops 69 
bouvronides, Sporophila 25 
Bradornis pallidus 19 
Bradypterus barratti 86, 93 

Bradypterus cinnamomeus 86-93 

— lopezi 87, 90 

— mariae 86-93 
brasilianus, Phalacrocorax 22 
brasiliensis, Amazonetta 22 
brevipes, Monticola 20-21 
brevis, Bycanistes 96 
breweri, Merops 67 
brodkorbi, Polioptila 73 
bryani, Chasiempis 106 
Bubo africanus 67 

— lacteus 67 
Bubulcus ibis 6 
Bucorvus abyssinicus 19 
bullockoides, Merops 155 
burro vianus, Cathartes 22 
Buteo swainsoni 1 1 5-1 16 
Butorides striatus 66 
Bycanistes brevis 96 

cabanisi, Lanius 34-35 

— - Phyllastrephus 97 
Cacatua ducorpsii 134 

— goffinii34 

— pastinator 130-137 

— sanguineai28 

- — tenuirostris 128-137 
Cacomantis pyrrophanus 1 1 
caerulea, Polioptila 72 
caerulescens, Rallus 67 

— Saltator2 3 

— Sporophila 24-26 
cafer, Pycnonotus 11-12 
Calidris 100 

— ■ alba 144 

— alpina 143-145 

— temminckii 9 5 
calurus, Criniger 57-58 
calva, Treron 67 
camelus, Struthio 94 
campestroides, Colaptes 22 
Campethera caroli 97 

— nivosa 97 
Campostoma obsoletum 23 
Campylorhynchus turdinus 46 
caniviridis, Apalis 27 

canus, Larus 145 
capensis, Anas 66 

— Zonotrichia 24 
capistratus, Serinus 142 
capitata, Paroaria 23 
Caprimulgus aegyptius 8 

— fossei 8 

— ■ longirostris 115, 1 18 

— parvulus 22 
caprius, Chrysococcyx 36 
caroli, Campethera 97 
carunculata, Foulehaio 1 1 

— ■ Paradigalla 148, 151 
cassini, Muscicapa 141 

cassini, Neafrapus 67 
castanea, Platysteira 97 
Cathartes burro vianus 22 
caudata, Chiroxiphia 11 8-1 19 
cayana, Piaya 22 

— Tangara 23 
cayanensis, Icterus 23 
cayennensis, Columba 22 
Centropus senegalensis 1 8 
Ceratogymna elata 44, 114 
Cercococcyx montanus 28 
Certhiaxis cinnamomea 22 
Ceryle maxima 67 

— rudis 18 

— torquata 22, 67 
Charadrius hiaticula 81, 99, 102, 144 

— Ieschenaultii95 

— placidus 98-101 
Chasiempis gayi 105 

— sandwichensis 105-108 
Chasiempis sandwichensis bryani, 

subsp. nov. 106 
Chasiempis sclateri 105 
cherina, Cisticola 1 1 1 
chicquera, Falco 66 
chimango, Polyborus 22 
chinensis, Streptopelia 1 1 
Chiroxiphia caudata 11 8-1 19 
chloris, Halcyon 1 1 
Chloroceryle americana 22 
Chlorocichla simplex 141 
chloronothos, Zosterops 69 
chloronotus, Criniger 58 
Chlorophonia fiavirostris 77-78 
chloropus, Gallinula 7 
Chlorostilbon lucidus 22 
chopi, Gnorimopsar 23 
Chrysococcyx caprius 36 
chrysoconus, Pogoniulus 68 
chrysops, Cyanocorax 23 
chrysostoma, Diomedea 1 1 5-1 16 
chrysura, Hylocharis 22 
Cicinnurus goodfellowi 1 5 1 

— lyogyrus 1 5 1 

— regius 1 50-1 5 1 
Ciconia ciconia 7 
ciconia, Ciconia 7 
cinerea, Xolmis 23 
cinereus, Coccyzus 22 
cinnamomea, Certhiaxis 22 
cinnamomeus, Bradypterus 86-93 
Cinnycerthia peruana 45-46 

— unirufa 45 
Circus aeruginosus 66 

— approximans 1 1 

— ranivorus 66 
cirrocephalus, Larus 7 
Cisticola cherina 1 1 1 
Clamator levaillantii 36 
clappertoni, Francolinus 16 

clara, Motacilla 141 
Clytorhynchus nigrogularis 1 1 

— vitiensis 1 1 
Coccyzus cinereus 22 

— melacoryphus 81-82 
Coeligena coeligena 60 
coeligena, Coeligena 60 
Colaptes campestroides 22 

— melanochlorus 22 
Colius striatus 8 
collaris, Lanius 34-36 

— Sporophila 24 
Collocalia elaphra 75, 103 

— francica 103 

— spodiopygia 1 1 
Columba arquatrix 67 

— cayennensis 22 

— guinea 17,67 

— vitiensis 1 1 
Columbigallina talpacoti 22 
Columbina picui 22 
concolor, Falco 62-6 5,156 
conspicillatus, Pelecanus 154 
coprotheres, Gyps 94 

Copsychus sechellarum 41, 102-103, 105 
Coracias abyssinica 18 

— spatulata 67 
Coracina analis 52 
coronatus, Vanellus 67 
corruscus, Lamprotornis 27 
corvina, Corvinella 33, 36, 38 

— Tersiphone 102-103 
Corvinella melanoleuca 34-35 
Corvus albus 19 
Coryphospingus cucullatus 24 
Coturnix coturnix 66 
coturnix, Coturnix 66 
crassirostris, Ailuroedus 146 

— ■ Hypsipetes 103 

— Vanellus 67 
Crax fasciolata 11 5-1 17 
Crinifer zonurus 1 8 
Criniger barbatus 57-59 

— ■ calurus 57-58 

— chloronotus 5 8 

— olivaceus 57-59 
cristatus, Orthorhyncus 30-32 

— Prionops 19 
Crotophaga ani 22 

— major 22 
cucullata, Hirundo 97 
cucullatus, Coryphospingus 24 
Cuculus gularis 36, 38 
cunicularia, Athene 22 
cuvieri, Dryolimnas 1 1 1 

— Falco 64, 66 
cyanea, Cyanocompsa 23-24 
Cyanocompsa cyanea 23-24 
Cyanocorax chrysops 23 
cyanolaema, Nectarinia 141 

cyanomelas, Trochocercus 28 
Cyanomitra dussumieri 105 

— mahei 105 
cyanopus, Agelaius 23 
cyanovirens, Erythrura 1 1 
Cyclarhis gujanensis 23 

dactylatra, Sula 71 
daurica, Hirundo 8 
delawarensis, Larus 115, 117 
Delichon urbica 8 
Dendrocygna viduata 39 
denhami, Neotis 17 
Dicmrus adsimilis 36, 141 

— forficatus 1 1 1 
diffusus, Passer 36 
Diomedea chrysostoma 11 5-1 16 

— melanophris 116 
Diphyllodes magnificus 147, 1 50-1 5 1 
domesticus, Passer 69, 115 
dominicus, Pluvialis 95 

dorsalis, Lanius 34-35 
Doryfera johannae 60 
dougallii, Sterna 124-127 
Dryolimnas cuvieri 1 1 1 
Dryoscopus senegalensis 141 
ducorpsii, Cacatua 134 
Ducula latrans 1 1 
duivenbodei, Paradisea 151 

— Parotia 151 

— Paryphephorus 146, 1 50-1 51 
dussumieri, Cyanomitra 105 

— Nectarinia 103-104 

edouardi, Guttera 67 
Egretta ardesiaca 94 

vinaceigula 94, 98 
elaphra, Collocalia 75, 103 
elata, Ceratogymna 44, 114 
eleonorae, Falco 65 
ellioti, Epimachus 152 
Emberizoides herbicola 1 20 

— ypiranganus 116, 120 
Fmbernagra platensis 24 
Empidonax euleri 23 
Epimachus astrapioides 146, 148, 151 

ellioti 148, 152 
fastuosus 147-148, 151 

episcopus, Thraupis 12-14 

eremita, Geronticus 39 

I .mnopterix lcucopareia 97 

— leucotis 8 
erythrocephala, Pipra 118 
erythrops, Quelea 142 

I Lrythrura cyanovirens 1 1 

kleinschmidti 1 1 
I .strilda bengala 19 
I Lulampis jugularis 31 
euleri, Empidonax 23 
I oipetes macn >oercus 1 12-1 13 

Euphonia violacea 12, 14 
eurystomina, Pseudochelidon 113 
Eurystomus glaucurus 1 8 

— gularis 44 
Eutoxeres 60 
excubitor, Lanius 34-35 
excubitorius, Lanius 34-35 
explorator, Zosterops 1 1 

falcinellus, Limicola 95 

— Plegadis 7 
Falco amurensis 64 

— araea 102-103 

— ardosiaceus 63-65 

— chicquera 66 

— concolor 62-65, 1 5 6 

— cuvieri 64, 66 

— eleonorae 65 

— newtoni 1 1 1 

— subbuteo 63-65 

— tinnunculus 16 

— vespertinus 64 
familiaris, Acrocephalus 123 
fasciatus, Myiophobus 23 
fasciolata, Crax 1 1 5-1 17 
fastuosus, Epimachus 147-148, 151 
filicauda, Teleonema 118 
fiaveola, Sicalis 1 5 

flavicans, Foudia 69 
flavida, Apalis 28, 141 
flavirostris, Arremon 24 

— Chlorophonia 77-78 

— Porphyrula 22 
forficatus, Dicrurus 1 1 1 
fossei, Caprimulgus 8 
Foudia flavicans 69 

— madagascariensis 69, 1 1 1 

— sechellarum 103-104 
Foulehaio carunculata 1 1 
francica, Collocalia 103 
Francolinus clappertoni 16 

— rovuma 7 

— sephaena 7 

— squamatus 66 
fraseri, Anthreptes 142 
fratrum, Batis 27 
Fregata ariel 1 1 1 , 127 

— minor 111, 127 
frontalis, Synallaxis 22 
frontatus, Tricholaema 96 
fulicarius, Lobipes 11 5-1 16 
fuliginosa, Artomyias 141 
funerea, Vidua 142 
Furnarius rufus 22 
fuscata, Sterna 75, 125-126 
fusconota, Nigrita 142 
fuscus, Acridotheres 1 1 

— ■ Larus 144-145 

gabonicus, Anthreptes 142 

galeata, Antilophia 119 
Gallicolumba stair ii 1 1 
Gallinago gallinago 22, 95, 98 
gallinago, Gallinago 22, 95, 98 
Gallinula chloropus 7 
gambensis, Plectropterus 83-84 
gayi, Chasiempis 105 
Geopelia striata 69 
Geophaps plumifera 137 
Geothlypis aequinoctialis 23 
Geranoaetus melanoleucus 1 1 5-1 16 
Geronticus eremita 39 
gilvigaster, Thamnophilus 23 
Glaucis 60 

glaucurus, Eurystomus 1 8 
Gnorimopsar chopi 23 
goertae, Mesopicos 19 
goffini, Cacatua 134 
goliath, Ardea 66 
goodfellowi, Cicinnurus 15 1 
Gorsachius leuconotus 66 
griseigularis, Myioparus 141 
griseiventris, Parus 138 
griseus, Passer 37 
gryphus, Vultur 1 1 5-1 16 
gubernator, Lanius 34 
guilielmi, Paradisea 151 
guinea, Columba 17, 67 
Guira guira 22 
guira, Guira 22 
gujanensis, Cyclarhis 23 
gularis, Cuculus 36, 38 

— Eurystomus 44 

— Paroaria 1 5 

gulielmitertii, Rhipidornis 146, 150-15 1 
Guttera edouardi 67 
gymnocephalus, Picathartes 112 
Gymnomyza viridis 1 1 
Gyps coprotheres 94 

Halcyon chloris 1 1 

— senegalensis 18 
Haliaeetus vocifer 16 
Haliastur indus 56 
Haplophaedia aureliae 59-61 
herbicola, Emberizoides 120 
Heterocercus linteatus 118 
Heteroptilorhis mantoui 1 5 1 
hiaticula, Charadrius 81, 99, 102, 144 
Hieraaetus pennatus 94, 98 
Hippolais languida 97 

— olivetorum 97 
hirsutum, Tricholaema 96 
Hirundinea bellicosa 23 
Hirundo angolensis 141 

— cucullata 97 

— daurica 8 

— rustica 23, 153 

— senegalensis 141 

— spilodera 97 

holosericeus, Sericotes 31 
holsti, Parus 54 
horus, Apus 76, 155 
humbloti, Ardea ^66 
humeralis, Ammodramus 24 
Hylocharis chrysura 22 
Hypsipetes crassirostris 103 

ibis, Ardeola 16 

— Bubulcus 6 
Icterus cayanensis 23 
imberbis, Anomalospiza 142 
indus, Haliastur 56 
insignis, Ploceus 140 
insularis, Otus 102-104 
interpres, Arenaria 144 
irupero, Xolmis 23 
Ixobrychus minutus 66 

Jabiru mycteria 1 1 5 - 1 1 6 
Jacana jacana 22 
jacana, Jacana 22 
Janthothorax bensbachi 1 50-1 5 1 

— mirabilis 150-151 
jardineii, Turdoides 36-37 
johannae, Doryfera 60 
jugularis, Eulampis 31 

— Myzomela 1 1 

kleinschmidti, Erythrura 1 1 
krameri, Psittacula 17, 67 

lacrymosus, Lybius 96 

lacteus, Bubo 67 

lafresnayanus, Tricholimnas 47-5 3 

Lagonosticta senegala 19 

Lagopus lagopus 144 

lagopus, Lagopus 144 

Lalage maculosa 1 1-1 2 

lamelligerus, Anastomus 7 

Lamprothorax wilhelminae 147, 151- 

Lamprotornis corruscus 27 

— purpuropterus 9 
languida, Hippolais 97 
Laniarius aethiopicus 42-44 

— barbarus 19, 42-43 

— leucorhynchus 42-44, 141 

— turatii 42-44 
Lanius cabanisi 34-35 

— collaris 34-36 

— dorsalis 34-35 

- excubitor 34-35 

— excubitorius 34-35 

— gubernator 34 

— ludovicianus 34 

— mackinnoni 34-35 

— minor 3 5 

— schach 3 5 

— senator 8 

— somalicus 34-35 


Lanius souzae 34 

— sphenocercus 3 5 

— tephronotus 3 5 
lapponica, Limosa 95 
Larus argentatus 144-145 

— canus 145 

— cirrocephalus 7 

— delawarensis 1 1 5 -1 1 7 

— fuscus 144-145 

— marinus 145 
larvata, Aplopelia 67 
lateralis, Zoster ops 1 1 
Laterallus melanophaius 117 

— xenopterus 115, 117 
latrans, Ducula 1 1 
lawesii, Parotia 146, 149, 152 
Lepidocolaptes angustirostris 22 
Leptotila rufaxilla 22 

— verreauxi 22 
lepturus, Phaethon 69, 1 1 1 
leschenaultii, Charadrius 95 
lessoni, Mayrornis 1 1 
leucocephala, Arundinicola 23 
leucogaster, Sula 1 10-1 1 1 
leucomelas, Tricholaema 96 

— Turdus 23 
leuconotus, Gorsachius 66 
leucopareia, Eremopterix 97 
leucorhynchus, Artamus 1 1 

— Laniarius 42-44, 141 
leucotis, Eremopterix 8 

— Otus 67 
levaillantii, Clamator 36 
libonyanus, Turdus 36 
Licmetis pastinator 137 
Limicola falcinellus 95 
Limosa lapponica 95 

— limosa 95 
limosa, Limosa 95 
lineola, Sporophila 25 
linteatus, Heterocercus 118 
lobata, Pseudastrapia 148, 151 
lobatus, Phalaropus 7 
Lobipes fulicarius 11 5-1 16 
Loborhamphus nobilis 1 50-1 5 1 

— ptilorhis 150-15 1 
locustella, Ortygospiza 142 
longipennis, Macrodipteryx 67 
longirostris, Caprimulgus 115, 118 
lopezi, Bradypterus 87, 90 
Lophorina 147, 149-150 

- supcrba 147, 15 1 
Loxioides bailleui 106 
lucidus, Chlorostilbon 22 
ludovicianus, Lanius 34 
lugcntoides, Oenanthe 8 
lugubris, Oenanthe 8 
luteovirens, Ptilinopus 11 
Lybius lacrymosus 96 
melanopterus 68 

Lybius minor 68 
lyogyrus, Cicinnurus 151 

Machetornis rixosa 23 
mackinnoni, Lanius 34-35 
macrocercus, Eupetes 1 1 2-1 1 3 
Macrodipteryx longipennis 67 

— vexillarius 67 
macroura, Vidua 9 
maculatus, Myiodynastes 23 
maculosa, Lalage 1 1-12 
madagascariensis, Foudia 69, 1 1 1 
magellanicus, Spinus 24 
magnifica, Ptilorhis 1 50-1 5 1 
magnificus, Diphyllodes 147, 150-15 1 
mahei, Cyanomitra 105 

major, Crotophaga 22 
Malaconotus viridis 27-28 
Malimbus rubriceps 138 
Manacus manacus 118 
manacus, Manacus 118 
mantoui, Heteroptilorhis 151 
maria, Paradisea 151 
mariae, Bradypterus 86-93 
mariei, Megalurulus 49 
marinus, Larus 145 
maxima, Ceryle 67 
mayeri, Astrapia 146, 151 
Mayrornis lessoni 1 1 
Megalurulus mariei 49 
Megarhynchus pitangua 23 
magellanicus, Spinus 24 
melacoryphus, Coccyzus 81-82 
melancholicus, Tyrannus 23 
melanocephala, Ardea 6 
melanochlorus, Colaptes 22 
melanoleuca, Atticora 119 

— Corvinella 34-35 

— Poospiza 24 

— Seleucides 1 5 1 
melanoleucus, Geranoaetus 1 1 5-1 16 
melanophaius, Laterallus 117 
melanophris, Diomedea 116 
melanopterus, Lybius 68 
melanotis, Ailuroedus 146 
melanotos, Sarkidiornis 83 
melanura, Polioptila 72 
meleagris, Numida 16, 67 
Melierax metabates 16 

Merops apiaster 8 

— boehmi 28 

— breweri 67 

— bullockoides 155 
Mesopicos goertae 19 
metabates, Melierax 16 
meyeri, Poicephalus 17 
migrans, Milvus 16, 56-57, 66 
Milvus migrans 16, 56-57, 66 
minor, Fregata 1 1 1 , 127 

— Lanius 3 5 


minor, Lybius 68 

— ■ Paradisea 146-147, 1 50-1 5 1 
minuta, Sporophila 24-25 
minutus, Ixobrychus 66 
mirabilis, Janthothorax 1 5 0-1 5 1 
Mitu mitu 116 
mitu, Mitu 116 
mixta, Paradisea 146, 151 
modesta, Zosterops 103-105 
Molothrus badius 23 

— bonariensis 23, 120 
monacha, Myopsitta 22 
montanus, Cercococcyx 28 
Monticola brevipes 20-21 

— pretoriae 20-21 
monticolus, Parus 5 5 
Motacilla alba 141 

— clara 141 
multicolor, Petroica 1 1-12 
munda, Serpophaga 23 
Muscicapa cassini 141 
Muscivora tyrannus 23 
mycteria, Jabiru 1 1 5-1 16 
Myiagra azureocapilla 1 1 

— vanikorensis 1 1-1 2 
Myiarchus tyrannulus 23 
Myiodynastes maculatus 23 
Myiopagis viridicata 23 
Myioparus griseigularis 141 

— plumbeus 141 
Myiophobus fasciatus 2 3 
Myopornis boehmi 141 
Myopsitta monacha 22 
myoptilus, Schoutedenapus 95, 98 
Myzomela jugularis 11 

naevia, Tapera 22 
narina, Apaloderma 28 
nasutus, Tockus 18 
Neafrapus boehmi 67 

— cassini 67 
Nectarinia cyanolaema 141 

— dussumieri 103-104 

— reichenbachii 141 

— veroxii 27, 71 
Nemosia rourei 116, 119 
Neoparadisea ruysi 146, 151 
Neositta 137 

Neotis denhami 17 
Nettapus 86 

— auritus 83 
newtoni, Falco 1 1 1 
niger, Plectropterus 84-85 
nigra, Astrapia 148, 151 
nigriceps, Polioptila 72 
nigricollis, Sporophila 25 
nigrirostris, Phaethornis 116, 118 
Nigrita fusconota 142 
nigrogularis, Clytorhynchus 1 1 
nigrorufa, Poospiza 24 

nipalensis, Aquila 95, 98 
nivosa, Campethera 97 
nobilis, Loborhamphus 1 50-1 51 
Numida meleagris 16, 67 
Nycticorax nycticorax 66 
nycticorax, Nycticorax 66 

obsoletum, Campostoma 23 
ocellata, Rheinartia 80 
Oenanthe lugentoides 8 

— lugubris 8 
olivacea, Piranga 12, 14 

— Tiaris 1 5 
olivaceiceps, Ploceus 140 
olivaceus, Criniger 57-59 

— Pogoniulus 68 
olivascens, Vireo 23 
olivetorum, Hippolais 97 
onocrotalus, Pelecanus 6 
oreas, Picathartes 112 
Orthorhyncus cristatus 30-32 
Ortygospiza locustella 142 
oryzivora, Padda 1 1 

Otus insularis 102-104 

— leucotis 67 

— scops 18 

Pachycephala pectoralis 1 1 
pacificus, Apus 75-76, 155 

— Puffinus 69 
Padda oryzivora 1 1 
pallidigaster, Anthreptes 142 
pallidus, Bradornis 19 
palmarum, Thraupis 12-14 
palustris, Acrocephalus 123 
papuensis, Archboldia 147 
Paradigalla 147, 149 

— carunculata 148, 151 
Paradisea 109 

— apoda 146, 151 

— bloodi 146-147, 1 5 1 

— duivenbodei 1 5 1 

— guilielmii 1 5 1 

— maria 151 

— minor 146-147, 1 50-1 5 1 

— mixta 146, 151 

— raggiana 146-147, 1 5 1 
— - rudolphi 146, 1 5 1-1 5 2 

— wallacei 109 
Paroaria capitata 23 

— gularis 1 5 
Parotia duivenbodei 1 5 1 

— lawesii 146, 149, 152 

— sefilata 1 5 1 
Parula pitiayumi 23 
Parus griseiventris 138 

— ■ holsti 54 

— monticolus 5 5 
parvulus, Caprimulgus 22 

Paryphephorus duivenbodei 146, 1 50-1 51 
Passer diffusus 36 

— domesticus 69, 115 

— griseus 37 
passerinus, Veniliornis 22 
pastinator, Cacatua 130-137 

— Licmetis 137 
Pavo 113 

pavonina, Balearica 67 
pectoralis, Pachycephala 1 1 
Pelecanus conspicillatus 154 

— onocrotalus 6 
pelzelni, Ploceus 141 
pennatus, Hieraaetus 94, 98 
perousii, Ptilinopus 1 1 
personata, Prosopeia 1 1 
peruana, Cinnycerthia 45-46 
Petroica multicolor 1 1-1 2 
Petronia xanthosterna 9 
Phacellodromus ruber 22 
Phaethon lepturus 69, 1 1 1 

— rubricauda 69 
Phaethornis 60 

— nigrirostris 116, 118 
Phalacrocorax brasilianus 22 
Phalaropus lobatus 7 
Phedina borbonica 75 
Phigys solitarius 1 1 
Phodilus badius 1 1 3 

— prigoginei 113 
Phoeniculus purpureus 18 
phryganophila, Schoeniophylax 22 
Phyllastrephus 58 

— cabanisi 97 

— placidus 97-98 
Phylloscopus ruficapilla 97 
Phytotoma rutila 23 
Piaya cayana 22 
Picathartes 1 1 2-1 1 3 

— gymnocephalus 1 1 2 

— oreas 112 
picui, Columbina 22 
Pipra aureola 118 

— erythrocephala 118 
Piranga olivacea 12, 14 
pitangua, Megarhynchus 23 
Pitangus sulfuratus 23 
placida, Xcnocichla 97 
placidus, Charadrius 98-101 

— Phyllastrephus 97-98 
platensis, I imbemagra 24 
Platystcira castanea 97 
plcbejus, Turdoidcs 19, 37 

Plectropterus 86 

— gambensis 83-85 
niger 84-85 

Plegadis falcinellus 7 
Ploceus angolensis 1 38-140 

— aurantius 141 

— bicolori38 

Ploceus insignis 140 

— olivaceiceps 140 

— tricolor 44 
plumbea, Polioptila 72-74 
plumbeus, Myioparus 141 
plumifera, Geophaps 137 
Pluvialis dominicus 95 
Pogoniulus chrysoconus 68 

— olivaceus 68 

— pusillus 68 

— subsulphureus 68 
Poicephalus meyeri 17 
poliocephalus, Turdus 1 1 
Polioptila albilora 72 

— caerulea 72 

— melanura 72 

— nigriceps 72 

— plumbea 72-74 

Polioptila plumbea brodkorbi, subsp. 

nov. 73 
Polioptila superciliaris 73 
Polyborus chimango 22 
pomarina, Aquila 98 
Pomatostomus 112 
Poospiza melanoleuca 24 

— nigrorufa 24 
Popelairia popelairii 32 
popelairii, Popelairia 32 
Porphyrula flavirostris 22 
pretoriae, Monticola 20-21 
prigoginei, Phodilus 113 
Prionops cristatus 19 
Prodotiscus regulus 8 
Prosopeia personata 1 1 
Pseudastrapia lobata 148, 151 
Pseudocalyptomena 113 
Pseudochelidon eurystomina 113 

— sirintarae 113 
Pseudocolopteryx sclateri 23 
Psittacula krameri 17, 67 
Pterodroma arminjoniana 69 

— solandri 48 
Ptilinopus luteovirens 1 1 

— perousii 11 

ptilorhis, Loborhamphus 1 50-1 5 1 
Ptiloris 147, 149-150 

— magnifica 150-151 
Ptilorrhoa 1 1 2 
Ptilostomus afer 19 
Ptyrticus turdinus 141 
Puffinus paciflcus 69 
pujoli, Anthreptes 142-143 
pulcherrima, Alectroenas 102-103 
pullaria, Agapornis 17 
purpureus, Phoeniculus 18 
purpuropterus, Lamprotornis 9 
pusillus, Pogoniulus 68 
Pycnonotus barbatus 36-37 

— cafern-12 
Pyrrhura rupicola 115, 118 

pyrrophanus, Cacomantis 1 1 

quadribrachys, Alcedo 67 
Quelea erythrops 142 
querquedula, Anas 39, 66, 95 

raggiana, Paradisea 146-147, 1 5 1 
Rallicula 1 1 3 
ralloides, Ardeola 7 
Rallus 47 

— caerulescens 67 
ranivorus, Circus 66 
rapax, Aquila 66 
rectirostris, Anthreptes 142-143 
regius, Cicinnurus 1 50-1 5 1 
regulus, Prodotiscus 8 
reichenbachii, Nectarinia 141 
reichenowi, Anthreptes 27 
Rheinartia ocellata 80 
Rhinocorax rhipidurus 19 
Rhipidornis gulielmitertii 146, 1 50-1 5 1 
Rhipidura spilodera 1 1 
rhipidurus, Rhinocorax 19 

rickeri, Berlepschia 115, 118 
Riparia riparia 140 
riparia, Riparia 140 
rixosa, Machetornis 23 
Rostratula benghalensis 7 
rourei, Nemosia 116, 119 
rovuma, Francolinus 7 
ruber, Phacellodromus 22 
rubricauda, Phaethon 69 
rubriceps, Malimbus 138 
ruddi, Apalis 27-28, 72 
rudis, Ceryle 18 

rudolphi, Paradisea 146, 1 5 1-1 5 2 
rufaxilla, Leptotila 22 
ruficapilla, Phylloscopus 97 

— Synallaxis 22 

— Vitia 1 1 
ruficapillus, Agelaius 119 
rufitorques, Accipiter 1 1 
rufi venter, Terpsiphone 141 
rufiventris, Turdus 23 
rufus, Furnarius 22 
rupicola, Pyrrhura 115, 118 
rustica, Hirundo 23, 153 
rutila, Phytotoma 23 
ruysi, Neoparadisea 146, 151 

Saltator caerulescens 23 
sandvicensis, Sterna 115, 117 
sandwichensis, Chasiempis 105-108 
sanguinea, Cacatua 128 
Sarkidiornis 86 

— melanotos 8 3 
Sarothrura 113 
Sasia 113 

sayaca, Thraupis 12-14, 23 
schach, Lanius 3 5 

Schoeniophylax phryganophila 22 

Schoutedenapus myoptilus 95, 98 

sclateri, Chasiempis 105 

sclateri, Pseudocolopteryx 23 

scops, Otus 18 

sechellarum, Copsychus 41, 102-103, 105 

— Foudia 103-104 
sechellensis, Bebrornis 41, 103-104 
sefilata, Parotia 151 

Seleucides melanoleuca 151 
Semeioptera wallacei 108-109 
semitorquata, Alcedo 67 
senator, Lanius 8 
senegala, Lagonosticta 19 
senegalensis, Centropus 1 8 

— Dryoscopus 141 

— Halcyon 1 8 

— Streptopelia 17 
sephaena, Francolinus 7 
Sericotes holosericeus 3 1 
Serinus capistratus 142 
Serpophaga munda 23 

— subcristata 23 
sharpei, Sheppardia 97 
Sheppardia sharpei 97 
Sicalis flaveola 15 
similis, Anthus 29 
simplex, Chlorocichla 141 
sirintarae, Pseudochelidon 1 1 3 
solandri, Pterodroma 48 
solitaria, Tringa 22 
solitarius, Phigys 1 1 
somalicus, Lanius 34-35 
sordida, Thlypopsis 23 
souzae, Lanius 34 
spatulata, Coracias 67 
sphenocercus, Lanius 3 5 
spilodera, Hirundo 97 

— Rhipidura 1 1 
Spinus magellanicus 24 
spodiopyga, Collocalia 1 1 
Sporophila 1 5 

— americana 2 5 

— bouvronides 25 

— caerulescens 24-26 

— collaris 24 

— lineola2 5 

— minuta 24-25 

— nigricollis 25 
squamatus, Francolinus 66 
stairii, Gallicolumba 11 
stephania, Astrapia 146, 1 5 1 
Sterna dougallii 1 24-1 27 

— fuscata 75, 125-126 

— sandvicensis 115, 117 
stolidus, Anous 1 1 1 , 126 
Streptopelia chinensis 1 1 

— ■ senegalensis 17 

— turtur 8 
striata, Geopelia 69 

striatus, Butorides 66 

— Colius 8 
Struthio camelus 94 
subbuteo, Falco 63-65 
subcristata, Serpophaga 23 
subsulphureus, Pogoniulus 68 
Sula dactylatra 71 

— leucogaster 1 1 o- 1 1 1 
sulfuratus, Pitangus 23 
superba, Lophorina 147, 1 5 1 
superciliaris, Polioptila 73 
superciliosus, Vanellus 67, 95 
swainsoni, Buteo 11 5-1 16 
sylvestr is, Tricholimnas 47-48, 51,53 
Synallaxis frontalis 22 

— ruflcapilla 22 
syndactyla, Bleda 143 
Synoicus australis 1 1 

tabuensis, Aplonis 1 1 
talpacoti, Columbigallina 22 
Tangara cayana 23 
Tapera naevia 22 
Telacanthura ussheri 76 
Teleonema filicauda 118 
temminckii, Calidris 95 
tenuirostris, Cacatua 128-137 
tephronotus, Lanius 3 5 
Ter psiphone corvina 102-103 

— ■ rufi venter 141 
Tersina viridis 1 5 
Thamnophilus gilvigaster 23 
Thlypopsis sordida 23 
thoracica, Apalis 28 
Thraupis 14 

— episcopus 12-14 

— palmarum 12-14 

— sayaca 12-14, 23 
Threnetes 60 

Threskiornis aethiopica 66 
Tiaris olivacea 1 5 
Tigriornis 113 
tinnunculus, Falco 16 
Tockus nasutus 18 
Torgos tracheliotus 66 
torquata, Ceryle 22, 67 
tracheliotus, Torgos 66 
Treron calva 67 

waalia 17 
Trichastoma 112 
Tricholaema frontatus 96 

— hirsutum 96 

— leucomelas 96 
Tricholimnas lafrcsnayanus 47-5 3 

— sylvestris 47-48, 51,53 
tricolor, Ploceus 44 

Tringa solitaria 22 
tristis, Acridothercs 1 1 
Trochocercus cyanomelas 28 
Troglodytes acdon 23 

turatii, Laniarius 42-44 
turdinus, Campylorhynchus 46 

— Ptyrticus 141 
Turdoides jardineii 36-37 
Turdoides plebejus 19, 37 
Turdus amaurochalinus 23 

— leucomelas 23 

— libonyanus 36 

— poliocephalus 1 1 

— rufiventris 23 
Turtur abyssinicus 17 

— afer2 8 

— tympanistria 28 
turtur, Streptopelia 8 
tympanistria, Turtur 28 
tyrannulus, Myiarchus 23 
Tyrannus melancholicus 23 
tyrannus, Muscivora 23 
Tytoalba 11, 126 

unirufa, Cinnycerthia 45 
urbica, Delichon 8 
ussheri, Telacanthura 76 

Vanellus coronatus 67 
. — crassirostris 67 

— superciliosus 67, 95 

— vanellus 143-144 
vanellus, Vanellus 143-144 
vanikorensis, Myiagra 1 1-12 
Veniliornis passerinus 22 
veroxii, Nectarinia 27, 71 
verreauxi, Leptotila 22 
Verreauxia 113 
vespertinus, Falco 64 
vexillarius, Macrodipteryx 67 
Vidua funerea 142 

— macroura 9 
viduata, Dendrocygna 39 
vinaceigula, Egretta 94, 98 
Vini amabilis 1 1 
violacea, Euphonia 12, 14 
Vireo olivascens 23 
viridicata, Myiopagis 23 
viridis, Gymnomyza 1 1 

— Malaconotus 27-28 

— Tersina 1 5 
Vitia ruflcapilla 1 1 
vitiensis, Clytorhynchus 1 1 

— Columba 1 1 
vocifer, Haliaeetus 16 
Vultur gryphus 11 5-1 16 

waalia, Treron 17 
wallacei, Paradisea 109 

— Semeioptera 108-109 
wilhelminae, Lamprothorax 147, 1 51-15 2 

xanthosterna, Petronia 9 

Xenocichla placida 97 Zonotrichia capensis 24 

xenopterus, Laterallus 115, 117 zonurus, Crinifer 1 8 

Xolmis cinerea 23 Zosterops 70 

— irupero 23 — borbonica 70 

— chloronothos 69 
ypir anganus, Emberizoides 1 1 6, 1 20 — explorator 1 1 

— lateralis 1 1 
Zonerodias 1 1 3 — modesta 103-105 



p. 2, line i : '1978', not '1977' 

p. 7, lines 26, 27 : i sephaena\ not ''saphaena' 

p. 16, line 17: ' 'Haliaeetus\ not 'Haliaetus' 

p. 18, line 3 : \onurus\ not \ornurus > 

p. 19, line 11 : 'Laniarius', not 'Lamarus' 

p. 19, line 29: 'pallidas', not ''pallida 

p. 23, line 14: i Myiophobus\ not ' Myiphobus' 

p. 23, line 44: i Tangara\ not ''Tanagrd' 

p. 34, line 10: i melanoleuca\ not ' ' melanoleucus' 

p. 34, line 36: i smithii\ not ''Smithii' 

p. 36, line 21 : ""Turdus libonyanus\ not '7\ libonyanus' 

p. 36, line 41 : i caprius\ not ''caprins' 

p. 41, line 8: l sechellensis\ not ' ' seychellensis' 

p. 41, line 9: i sechellarum\ not ' ' seychellarum' 

p. 66, line 40 : i cuvieri\ not l cuvieriP 

p. 77, line 5 : 'Williams, J. G.', not 'Williams, G. E.' 

p. 77, line 9 : ""flavirostris Sclater ', not i flavirostis Schlater' 

p. 113, line 12: i Verreauxia\ not l Verrauxia' 

p. 141, line 16: ' ' Artomyias\ not ' ' Artymyias'' 

p. 141, line 21: 'Myopornis boehmi\ not l Myiopornis bohmi\ Also to precede Myioparus 


p. 141, line 23 : i griseigularis\ not ' ' griseogulare' 

p. 141, line 34: ' Dryoscopus\ not i Dry socopus'' 

p. 141, line 47: i pel^elni\ not i ple%elni' > 

pp. 146-152: See p. no, line 2, ' Paradisea' ', neither ' Paradisaea' nor ''Paraidsaea 

p. 146, line 3: ' ' Neoparadisea' ', not 'Neoparadisaed* 

pp. 147-15 1 : i Ptiloris\ not ''Ptilorhis' 

p. 151, Group B, 6, 7: ''guilielmi\ not 'guilelmi? 

p. 151, Group B, 8 : , 'gulielmitertii\ not ' ' gulielmi-tertif 

p. 151, Group E, 23: 'Neoparadisea', not i Neoparadisaea' 

The Caxton & Holmesdale Press, Sevenoaks 

Bulletin of the 

ISSN 0007-1595 

K *us£j 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 99 No. 1 

March 1979 


Tuesday 24 April 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. in the Senior Common Room, South Side, 
Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, S.W.7. Dr. D. B. Peakall (Chief, Wildlife Toxicology 
Division, Canadian Wildlife Service) on Toxic chemicals and some fish-eating birds. 
Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.85 a person together with their 
acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mr. B. Gray, 5 Salem Road, London W2 4BU to 
arrive not later than first post on Thursday 19 April 1979. 

Tuesday it May 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. in the Senior Common Room, South Side, 
Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, S.W.7. Dr. B. Stonehouse on Penguins and loss of 
flight in birds. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.85 a person together 
with their acceptance on the enclosed slip to Mr. B. Gray, 5 Salem Road, London W2 4BU 
to arrive not later than first post on Thursday 10 May 1979. 

Tuesday 10 July 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Goat Tavern. Mr. W. G. Harvey on 
"Ornithology in Indonesia", including aspects of conservation. 

Tuesday 18 September 1979 at the Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial College. 
Mr E. F. J. Garcia on "The Birds of Gibraltar". 

Tuesday 20 November 1979. Mr. M. E. J. Gore on "Birds of The Gambia". 

No liability is accepted for any damage, injury or loss suffered by any person in 
connection with attendance at a Club meeting. 

Gifts or offers of sale of unwanted bac k numbers of The Bulletin are always welcome 


P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) B. Gray 

C. E. Wheeler P. J. Oliver 

C. F. Mann 

British Ornitholigists' Club 

[Bull. B.O.C. 19/9: 99(1)] 

Bulletin of the 


Vol. 99 No. 1 Published : 6 April 1 979 


The eighty seventh Annual General Meeting of the British Ornithologists' Club will be 
held in the Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial College., Prince's Gardens, 
London, S.W.7 at 6 p.m. on Tuesday 15 May 1979. 


1. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting {Bull. Brit. Orn. CI 98: 33-36) 

2. Report of the Committee and Accounts for 1978. 

3. The Bulletin. 

4. Election of Officers. 

The Committee proposes that : — 

(a) Mrs. Diana Bradley be re-elected Hon. Treasurer. 

(b) Mr. R. E. F. Peal be re-elected Hon. Secretary. 

(c) Mr. R. D. Chancellor be elected a member of the Committee vice Mr. C. E. 
Wheeler, who retires by rotation. 

(d) Mr. J. G. Parker be elected a member of the Committee vice Mr. P. J. Oliver, 
who is resigning. 

5. Any other business of which notice shall have been given in accordance with Rule (7). 

By Order of the Committee, 


Honorary Secretary. 


Hon. Secretary's report 

Inflation was in 1978, yet again, the dominating factor affecting the Club 
and printing costs rose by 9% at the beginning of the year and 10% in May, 
making a cumulative overall increase of 20%. As printing costs are far the 
largest item of expenditure of the Club, it was decided regretfully by the 
Committee in July that the subscription rate for members must be raised to 
£5.50 and for Bulletin subscribers to £7.50, commencing in 1979. 

Seven meetings were held in the year. The November meeting was 
enlarged into a joint meeting with the British Ornithologists' Union and an 
extra meeting was held in December so that we could have a speaker whom 
we had hoped to hear earlier in the year. The March, July and December 
meetings were held at the Goat Tavern, with dinner charges of £2.60 to 
£2.70 a head. In January, May and September meetings were held in the 
Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial College, with dinner charges 
°f £3«75 to £3-9° an d the November meeting, with two speakers in a lecture 
theatre at Imperial College and a buffet supper in the Senior Common Room, 
South Side, at a charge of £3. The total number of club members and guests 
attending meetings was 203 ; the different pattern of meetings in November 
and December prevents direct comparison with numbers in previous years, 
but before then attendances were 2 more than in 1977. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

During 1977 25 new members joined, 4 members resigned and 11 had 
their membership terminated under Rule (4). It is with deep regret that the 
Committee reports the deaths of Mr. L. E. G. Adams, Dr. J. G. Harrison, 
O.B.E., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.R.C.O.G. (Editor 1952-1961, Hon. Secre- 
tary 1 962-1 964), Miss G. M. Rhodes (Hon. Secretary 1949-19 50), Dr. B. B. 
Roberts, Ph.D., Dr. Alexander Wetmore and Mr. C. M. N. White, M.B.E., 
M.A. The number of paid-up members at the end of the year was 301 
(including 7 honorary life members); there were 10 new non-member 
subscribers to the Bulletin in the year and a total of 141 paid-up when the 
year ended. 

In view of the international nature of the Bulletin and of the spread of 
subjects which it is the endeavour of the Committee to cover with appropriate 
speakers of high standing at meetings, it is interesting to note the areas in 
which members and Bulletin subscribers reside. Of members, 176 have 
United Kingdom addresses and 125 live abroad. In the case of Bulletin 
subscribers, 14 are in the U.K., 33 in other parts of Europe (11 in West 
Germany), 58 in America, 16 in Africa, 11 in Australia and New Zealand 
and 9 in Asia. In the U.S.A. there are 49 Bulletin subscribers, of which 41 
are Universities, whereas in Britain there are only two Universities (Bristol 
and Nottingham) subscribing (Oxford and Cambridge have copyright 
libraries entitled to free copies). 

Editor's report 

Volume 98 of the Bulletin contained 146+xvi pages. Delay from receipt 
of papers to date of publication averaged 7 months, varying from about 5 
months at the beginning of the year to about 8 months by the December 
issue. The 39 papers averaged about 3 J pages or 2,000 words each, but 
varied from less than one page to over 9 pages. There were 5 notes 'In 
Brief, notice of 2 books received and 2 sets of 'Opinions' quoted from the 
Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature (through the kind services of C. W. 
Benson). There were 14 papers on taxonomy and descriptions of 4 new 
races and one new genus. Of the rest, 16 were on field observations from 
Afghanistan, the Arctic, Australia, Burma, Colombia, East Africa, Eritrea, 
Ethiopia (4), Gulf of Mexico, Mozambique, Reunion, Seychelles, the West 
Indies and Zambia; there were 2 each on anatomy and birds' eggs, and one 
each on nomenclature, parasites, food, voice and moult. Of the 43 different 
authors, 24 were from the U.K., 4 each from the United States and South 
Africa, 3 from Zambia, 2 each from France and Australia, and one each 
from Canada, Sweden, Malaysia and West Germany. 

Hon. Treasurer's report 

There has been an excess of expenditure over income of £222, due mainly 
to two increases in printing charges for the Bulletin. It may be noted that 
the cost of distribution of the Bulletin (£214 in 1978) has been separated 
from 'Cost of publication of the Bulletin' and has been included in 'Miscel- 
laneous expenditure and postage'. The Hon. Treasurer's expenses were 
higher than usual due to extra printing and postage incurred in notifying 
all members about the increase in the Subscription as from January, 1979. 
The Hon. Treasurer would beg all members to reply to these circulars 

3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 9<fr)\ 

without delay and save the Club the cost of writing several times on the same 

The Trust Fund (Barrington Bequest) capital has been written down to 
the cost of the j\% Treasury Stock 2008/21 12 into which it was switched 
in June last; the Club placed the management of this Trust Fund in the 
hands of a Trust Corporation in 1958, and the Committee does not make 
investment decisions for this Fund. 

The Seven hundred and fifteenth Meeting of the Club was held, jointly with 
the British Ornithologists' Union, at Imperial College, London, S.W.7, on 
Tuesday 21 November 1978 at 6.30 p.m. Those present numbered about 90, 
of whom 42 were Members of the Club (and of the Union) and their guests. 
Mr. P. Hogg presided at the first session, when Mr. E. M. Nicholson, C.B. 
spoke on 'The role of British ornithologists in Europe' and Sir Hugh Elliott, 
Bt., O.B.E. at the second session, when Mr. G. Mountfort, O.B.E., spoke 
on 'Ornithology in south-east Asia'. A buffet supper was served in the Senior 
Common Room, South Side. Reports on the addresses by Mr. Nicholson 
and Mr. Mountfort will appear in Ibis Vol. 121 No. 2. 

The Seven hundred and sixteenth Meeting of the Club was held at the 
Goat Tavern, 3 Stafford Street, London, W.i., on Tuesday, 5 December 
1978 at 7 p.m. Present: Members — P. Hogg (Chairman), Dr. G. Beven, Mrs. 
D. M. Bradley, R. A. N. Croucher, O. J. H. Davies, J. H. Elgood, Sir Hugh 
Elliott, A. Gibbs, P. J. Oliver, J. G. Parker, R. E. F. Peal, P. D. W. Timms, 
C. E. Wheeler. Guests— B. Budd, J. P. C. Burgess, S. J. W. Coles, Miss M. 
Collard, G. Lloyd, J. L. F. Parslow, R. B. Sibson, R. H. Sibson. 

Mr. J. L. F. Parslow spoke on 'The function of the R.S.P.B. in British 
Ornithology'. He described the development of the Royal Society for 
Protection of Birds in its purposes of encouraging conservation of wild 
birds and increasing interest in them. Among its many activities were 
research, which was for conservation purposes and primarily related to 
management of reserves or to threats to birds in specific places. 

The Seven hundred and seventeenth meeting of the Club was held in the 
Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on 
Tuesday 9 January 1979 at 7 p.m. Present: Members — P. Hogg (Chairman), 
Dr. G. Beven, J. H. R. Boswall, Mrs. D. M. Bradley, Dr. J. Bynon, D. R. 
Calder, R. A. N. Croucher, O. J. H. Davies, B. Gray, A. Gibbs, P. A. D. 
Hollom, C. F. Mann, Dr. J. F. Monk, P. J. Oliver, R. E. F. Peal, P. S. 
Redman, Dr. T. J. Seller, P. D. W. Timms, C. E. Wheeler. Guests— Miss 
C. Appleby, I. Baker, Miss M. A. Barry, D. J. Bradley, J. P. C. Burgess, 
J. M. Calder, Miss M. Collard, D. Davenport, Mrs. A. Gibbs, Mrs. P. 
Hogg, Dr. A. Melland, Miss C. Monk, Mrs. J. F. Monk, R. Monk, A. R. E. 
Peal, Mrs. R. E. F. Peal, Miss F. E. Peal, R. G. Peal, Mrs. R. G. Peal, G. H. 
Searle, Mrs. G. H. Searle, P. J. Sellar. 

Mr. J. H. R. Boswall spoke on 'Mutual mimics, men as birds and birds 
as men — an ornithological frolic'. He gave a very amusing address, which 
was of much interest also. He illustrated his talk with a number of instru- 
ments made for human imitation of bird voice as well as by tape recordings 
of man imitating bird sounds in various ways and of birds imitating man. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 4 


for the year ended 31st DECEMBER, 1978 

1978 1977 



Members' Subscriptions 

Income Tax Recovered 
Deeds of Covenants 

Investment and Deposit Income 

General Fund 

Trust Fund 

Rent — Less Expenses 
Property 'Clovelly', Tring 

Sales of Bulletin — Back Numbers 



1,660 — 








I 5 I 




183 - 









2,955 2,820 

Cost of Publication of Bulletin 



Reprinting Back Numbers 



Notices of Meetings 



Audit and Accountancy 



Lecture and Dinner Expenses 



Miscellaneous Expenditure and Postage 



Treasurer's Expenses 



Projector Depreciation 


3> I 77 



xcess of Expenditure over Income 



5 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

BALANCE SHEET as at 31st DECEMBER, 1978 



General Fund 

£ ■ 




Balance at 31st December 1977 

Less: Excess of Expenditure over Income 



i,79 2 

i,73 6 

Bulletin Fund 

Members' Donations 



Trust Fund 

F. J. F. Barrington Legacy 

Less: Loss on Sale of War Stock 






Represented by: — 
Fixed Assets 

Projector and Screen — Cost 

Less: Depreciation 




Current Assets 

Stock of Bulletin — Nominal Value 

Cash at Bank 

National Savings Bank 






Less: Current Liabilities 


Subscriptions paid in advance 





General Fund Investments 

£100 8^% Treasury Loan (Market Value 

£90) 100 

Less: Reserve 20 


Thurrock Borough Council Bond 

( J o%) 1,000 

Encashed 1,000 




80 — 1,080 

Trust Fund Investments 

£i,399-55 3i% War Stock 

£880 51% Treasury Stock 2008/12 (Mar- 
ket Value £414). 





[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 6 

Twenty-eight additions to Archer & Godman's 
'Birds of British Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden' 

by D. A. Baird 

Received 19 April 1978 
Archer & Godman published a 'Full List of Birds' of British Somaliland 
and the Gulf of Aden (1937, Vol. 1. lxxix-xci) containing 422 species and 
sub-species, updated and revised in Vol. 3 (1 961) to contain 45 1 species and 
sub-species. Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1952, 1955) acknowledged Archer 
& Godman as one of the many sources of their information, referring pre- 
sumably to the original 2 volumes (1937) and possibly also to unpublished 
notes. A number of the additional species referred to in the list which 
follows are recorded by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (MP.G) as occurring in 
Somaliland (or British Somaliland) from information presumably arising 
from sources other than Archer & Godman. Where this is so, mention is 
made in the list which follows. 

Recently I have been able to write up my field notes amassed 1949-55 
while in what was then the Somaliland Protectorate. My duties restricted my 
opportunity for field study and, as a result, I was never able to visit many 
parts of the Protectorate. Only once was I able to explore the juniper forests 
of Erigavo and the Erigavo escarpment and then only for part of one day. 
My acquaintance with the Gulf of Aden coast line was limited to short, 
though repeated, visits to the townships of Berbera and Zeilah. I never 
travelled in the Haud or Guban except when crossing the latter en route for 
Berbera from Hargeisa and I never reached Mt. Wagar and the other high 
plateaux. Nevertheless I was able to identify 278 species during my 6 years 

Gordon Clarke, with the Somaliland Scouts between 195 3-56 and 1957-59, 
presented me in 1968 with a most excellent typescript volume of his notes in 
which he records 302 species, including a considerable number from parts 
of the country which I never had occasion to visit. Clarke's list contained 65 
species not on mine and my list included 41 species not recorded by him. 
We were thus able, between us, to account for 343 species, 28 being additions 
to Archer & Godman's 1961 list, bringing their 'Full List' up to 479 species 
and sub-species. What follows are short notes on these 28 additional species. 
I have considered it unnecessary to provide a description of each bird as I 
was already familiar with most of them in Nyasaland (now Malawi), while in 
most cases Clarke's notes provide good descriptions. 

Pelecanus onocrotalis White Pelican. 
Clarke saw 2 on the sea at Sebawanak on 14.xii.58, conspicuous in their 
black and white plumage in contrast to the greyish sameness of the smaller 
Pink-backed Pelican P. rufescens. 

Ardea melanocephala Black-headed Heron. 
Baird saw a pair sitting in a tree at Gadkayogol, August 1952. On 19.viii.54, 
accompanied by his son, John Baird, he saw another pair at Bihendula. 

Bubulcus ibis Cattle Egret. 
Baird reported a single bird on in his garden in Hargeisa feeding 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

alongside a neighbour's grazing horse. It remained for several hours, 
appearing briefly the same evening on a nearby acacia tree. On 14.ii.54, 5-6 
birds were seen at the stock watering point in the town of Berbera. John 
Baird saw yet another on the tug at Hargeisa on 8.viii.54. 

Ardeola ralloides Squacco Heron. 
Clarke saw a single bird on the mud-flats at Berbera 18.ix.56, and also reports 
that A. R. Tribe of the Government Forestry Dept. collected a specimen at 
Abassa Ga-gab (location not known) at 1300 m, 5.viii.58. Baird saw one 
beside a rain water pool 50 km south of Hargeisa, 9.x. 5 2, and with John 
Baird saw a solitary bird on a stretch of open water at Bihendula, 19.viii.54. 
Three days later they saw yet another in very poor condition by a dried up 
rain pool at Burao and the next day found it there dead. 

Ciconia ciconia European Stork. 
Baird has 3 records: 22.X.51, one on a large acacia tree near his house in 
Hargeisa; i.iii.52, 4 seen at Tug Dila on the Hargeisa-Boroma road; 
25.viii.52, 8 somewhere (unrecorded) on the Boroma road. 

Anastomus lamelligerus Open-bill Stork. 
Baird saw one over the cricket ground at Hargeisa on 2.viii.52. 

Plegadis falcinellus Glossy Ibis. 
Clarke records 2, wild and difficult to approach, at Sebawanak 13-14 Dec, 
feeding in the fresh water streams. He describes them as smaller than the 
Sacred Ibis, generally blackish-brown, glossed oily, with black bill and feet. 
Baird records a single bird beside the Shaab pier at Berbera, 18.viii.54. 

Francolinus rovuma Kirk's Francolin. 
Where they occurred together on the Ogo, Clarke noticed that this species 
differed from F. saphaena by the stripes and/ or spots on the flanks and breast 
being chocolate in colour in rovuma, cream in saphaena. MP.G mention the 
sub-species F. r. spilogaster occurring widely throughout British Somaliland. 

Gallinula chloropus Moorhen. 
Clarke saw one on a pool in the Medishe tug, 27.V.56. A. R. Tribe, who was 
with him, claimed that the species bred there, having seen chicks in 1954 
and 1955. 

Actophilornis africanus Lily Trotter. 
Baird and his son saw one at a grass-fringed water pool at Gadkayogol, 
25.viii.52, probably an immature bird, as its back was not the same warm 
rufous colour as the flanks. It was whitish underneath and the wing tips were 
dark with an almost greenish hue. The top of the head and the nape were 
black while the face was white and the sides of the neck were yellow. 

Rostratula benghalensis Painted Snipe. 
Clarke collected a male at a water-hole at Bedr Wanak, 26.ix.58. 

Phalaropus lobatus Red-necked Phalarope. 
Clarke saw one at Sebawanak, 10.iii.58. Recorded by MP.G. as a winter 
visitor to the Gulf of Aden. 

Larus cirrocephalus Grey-headed Gull. 
Clarke collected an adult female at Berbera, 12.1.57, identification being 
confirmed by J. G. Williams. Now in the National Museum, Nairobi. 

{Bull B.O.C. i9?q: 99(1)] 8 

Streptopelia turtur Turtle Dove. 
Clarke collected an immature bird at Bedr Wanak, 26.viii.58. Two were seen 
there on 1 .x. 5 8 and 4 days later another was seen at Adadleh. 

Merops apiaster European Bee-eater. 
Baird saw several while travelling between Hargeisa and Bedr Wanak 
12.viii.52. Others were seen while travelling to Aubarreh on 25.viii.52 and 
at Sheikh, 21.viii.54. 

Capri mulgus fossei Gabon Nightjar. 
Baird, familiar with the call of this species in Nyasaland, is convinced that 
he heard it calling on a number of occasions in and around Hargeisa. 

Capri mulgus aegyptius Egyptian Nightjar. 
Clarke obtained a specimen at Sebawanak, 13.xii.58, subsequently identified 
by J. G. Williams and now in the National Museum, Nairobi. 

Colius striatus Speckled Mouse-bird. 
Clarke saw 6-7 in low scrubby bushes in the Horruf tug, near Boroma 
3.xi.5 8. Tribe also reported (to Clarke) seeing them in the same locality. 
MP.G. mention the sub-species hilgerti occurring in British Somaliland. 

Prodotiscus regulus Walberg's Honey-guide. 
Baird sw one in the Government Secretariat compound in Hargeisa 
31.vii.52, noting the characteristic 'bobbing' of the head which he had 
observed in Nyasaland birds. 

Eremopterix kucotis Chestnut-naped Sparrow-lark. 
Clarke came across a flock of 130-150 feeding on the air-field at Boroma, 
24.V.58. He also collected 4 at Boroma on 28 Sep. 

Oenanthe lugentoides Arabian Pied Chat. 
J. G. Williams showed Baird a skin of this bird and also pointed it out to 
him in the ravines on the Erigavo escarpment. Williams claims that it is 
confined to the ravines on the escarpment above 1700 m. 

Oenanthe lugubris Abyssinian Black Wheatear. 
Seen by Clarke at Daloh where it occupies the summits of the escarpment. 
A pair with 2 fledglings, 24.V.56. Kreuger (1958) described the nest and eggs 
from material supplied by Tribe. MP.G. mention the sub-species vauriei as 
occurring in eastern British Somaliland. 

Hirundo daurica Red-rumped Swallow. 
Clarke reported 2, possibly 3, pairs at Tag'aire on the face of the escarpment 
below Daloh, 23-29.V.56. One pair was collected by Tribe which is now in 
the British Museum (Natural History). MP.G. mention the sub-species 
rufula and scullii occurring in British Somaliland. 

Delichon urbica House Martin. 
Clarke saw 10-12 on Mt. Wagar, 13-21.X.56 feeding over a glade high in the 
mountain along with Little and Common/Pallid Swifts. Attempts to obtain 
a specimen failed. MP.G. state that this species occurs throughout Eastern 

Lanius senator Woodchat Shrike. 
Clarke saw a female at Bogoljirreh, 5.XL58. 

9 [Bull.B.O.C. i979-'99(i)] 

Lamprotornis purpuropterus Rupell's Long-tailed Glossy Starling. 
Clarke saw one at HarirT, near Hargeisa, between 19.iii.56 and; and 
another there on 27.iii. 5 8 which stayed around until io.viii. 5 8 at least. He says 
it frequented massive old acacia trees in the garden at HarirT. Its call was a 
noisy 'dar-ratt' repeated 6-8 times. 

Petronia xanthosterna Yellow-spotted Petronia. 
Clarke saw this bird at Sheikh, Wagar and Burao and westwards from there to 

Vidua macroura Pin-tailed Whydah. 
Clarke saw about 20 in a tug-side garden at Amoud, 24.V.58, about half of 
them males in breeding plumage. 

Acknowledgements : I am particularly grateful to my friend Gordon Clarke who has 
allowed me to make free use of his excellent notes, without which this exercise would 
scarcely have been worthwhile. I also wish to thank my son, Dr. John Baird, for allowing 
me access to his notes, for his helpful comments and for checking the typescript. 

References : 

Archer, G. F. & Godman, E. M. 1937. Birds of British Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden. 

Vols. 1-2. Gurney and Jackson: London. 
Archer, G. F. & Godman E. M. 1961. Birds of British Somaliland and the Gulf of Aden. Vols. 

3-4. Oliver and Boyd: Edinburgh and London. 
Kreuger, R. 1953. Hitherto undescribed nests and eggs from British Somaliland. Ibis 100: 

Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1952, 1955. Birds of Eastern and North Eastern 

Africa. Vols. 1-2. Longmans: London. 

Address: Dr. D. A. Baird, 4 Maryville Park, Aberdeen, AB2 6DU, Scotland. 
© 1979 

The avifauna of the exotic pinewoods 
of Viti Levu, Fiji Islands 

by Martyn L. Gorman 

Received 2) April 1978 

The volcanic island of Viti Levu is divided into 2 by mountains running 
north-south. These mountains interrupt the prevailing southeast winds 
leading to heavy rain on the windward side and leaving the leeward land dry 
for most of the year. 

The windward, wet areas are covered in tropical rainforest, while the dry 
side of the island is covered in grassland with remnants of a sclerophyll 
forest largely removed in the 19th century. 

Over the next 3 decades the Fijian vegetation will be profoundly changed 
by forestry practice. The rainforest will be altered, by selective felling, at an 
increasing rate while some 5 5 ,000 ha of grassland will be planted with the 
exotic Pinus caribea. Such forestry practice may have far reaching consequen- 
ces for the avifuna of Fiji. This paper reports on the native and introduced 
birds of Fiji which have managed to colonise pine plantations, both those on 
former rainforest and those on dry grasslands. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 10 

Study areas 

Pine has been planted on the Nadarivatu plateau (Fig. 1) since about 1950. 
The initial plantings were on the site of logged rainforest, the remaining 
trees of which were poisoned with arsenic. Pine has been planted in this way 
at various times along the valleys of the Navai, Nadala and Nukunuku and 
along the top of the escarpment south of Koro-O. 

Fig. 1. Map showing the study areas 1-6. The shading on the small map of Viti Levu 
indicates the area covered by the large map. 

In addition pine has been planted on dry- grasslands where the Nukunuku 
joins the Sigatoka river and on the steep slopes of the escarpment leading 
down from Nadarivatu to the coastal plains. 

I chose 4 major categories of pine: young plantations under 2 m in height 
in rainforest and on grassland; and mature pine more than 7 m on the same 
2 vegetation types. On poisoned rainforest the young pine had a rich under- 
storey of herbs, bushes and seedlings; the mature forest had a closed canopy 
and the understorey was much shorter and less diverse. On the dry land, 
both immature and mature pine had an understorey of grasses and shrubs. 
The natural vegetation surrounding these plantations is described fully in 
Gorman (1975). 


The locations of the 6 study areas, covering the 4 categories of pine planta- 
tion and areas of natural grassland and rainforest are shown in Fig. 1. Each 
area was visited for a total of 31 days between November 1970 and May 
1973. On each visit I walked irregularly through the area, from 6 a.m. to 

ii [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. noting the species present on the basis of 
visual sightings and sound. In this way each of the 6 areas received a total 
of 186 hours of study. Relative abundances of the different species could not 
be estimated because the problems of observation varied greatly between 
species and between habitats. 


Of Vitu Levu's 5 5 species of birds, 47 indigenous and 8 introduced, I saw 
41; their habitat occurrence is shown in Table 1. 


Field records of birds of Viti Levu, listed by study area (see map) to show the effect of exotic pine plantation. 

Study Area 
Rainforest Former Rain forest Grassland Former Grassland 
1. Virgin 2. Young 3. Mature 4. Vityin 5. Young 6. Mature 
Species Pine Pine Pine Pine 

Fiji Goshawk Accipter rufitorques x x x x 

Swamp Harrier Circus approximans x x 

Many coloured Fruit Dove Ptilinopus perousii x 

Golden Dove Ptilinopus luteovirens x 

Peales Pigeon Ducula latrans x 

White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis x 

Friendly Ground Dove Gallicolumba stairii x 

Red-throated Lory Vini amabilis x 

Collared Lory Phigys solitarius x 

Musk Parrot Prosopeia personata x 

Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis pyrrophanus x x 

Barn Owl Tyto alba x x 

White-rumped Swiftlet Colloialia spodiop gia x x x x 

White-collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris x x x x x x 

Polynesian Triller Lalage maculosa x x x x x 

Island Thrush 7 urdus poliocepbalus x 

Fiji Warbler Vitia ruficapilla x 

Spotted Fantail Rhipidura spilodera x x x 

Slaty Flycatcher Mayrornis lessoni x 

Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhjnchus vitiensis x x x 

Black-faced Shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis x 

Vanikoro Broadbill Myiagra vanikorensis x x x x x x 

Blue-crested Broadbill Myiagra azureocapilla x 

Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor x x x x x x 

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis x x 

White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorhynchus x x x x 

Polynesian Starling Aplonis tabuensis x x 

Orange-breasted Honey-eater Myzpmela jugularis x x x x 

Wattled Honey-eater Fouhhaio carunculata x x x 

Giant Forest Honey-eater Gymnomyza viridis x 

Layard's White-eye Zosterops explorator x x x x 

Grey-backed White-eye Zosterops lateralis x x x x 

Red-headed Parrot-finch Erythrura cyanovirens x x x x 

Pink-billed Parrot-finch Erythrura kleinschmidti x 

Quail Synoicus australis x 

Malay Turtle Dove Strep top elia chinensis x 

Dusky Myna Acridotheres tristis x x 

Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus x x 

Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer x x x x x x 

Strawberry Finch Amandava amandava x x 

Java Rice-sparrow Padda oryzivora x 

TOTALS 35 16 7 22 15 5 


It is clear from Table i that not all the birds present in rainforest manage 
to colonise the pine in the rainforest. In general the pigeons, parrots and 
lories are absent. Of the passerines, those species spread widely across the 
Pacific are present in the pine, while the Fijian endemics and those with 
restricted geographical ranges are absent. Of the introduced species only the 
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer has reached the Nadarivatu plateau and 
it is common in the pine. Comparing mature and immature pine there is a 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 12 

marked decrease in the number of species present in older forest. In general 
the species lost are those which make use of the profuse understorey of the 
immature plantations — the honeyeaters, white-eyes and parrot-finch. 

Most of the species present on the grasslands are also present in the young 
grassland pine plantations. However as the pine matures and the understorey 
becomes more sparse one sees again a reduction in the diversity of the avi- 
fauna. The reduction again involves the birds relying on the understory, 
and only the insectivorous species are left — the predatory White-collared 
Kingfisher Halcyon Moris, the Polynesian Triller Lalage maculosa, the Vani- 
koro Broadbill Myiagra vanikorensis, the Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor and 
the Red-vented Bulbul Pjcnonotus cafer. 

In general, therefore the replacement of natural or semi-natural vegetation 
with pine leads to a progressive reduction in the diversity of the avifauna. 

Acknowledgements : My expenses incurred in field work were met by research grants from 
the University of the South Pacific, Fiji and the British Ornithologists' Union. 

References : 

Gorman, M. L. 1975. Habitats of the land birds of Viti Levu, Fiji Islands. Ibis 117: 15 2-1 61. 

Address: Dr. M. L. Gorman, Department of Zoology, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, 
AB9 2TN. 

© 1979 

Natal pterylosis of three Thraupis tanagers 

by J. Inge Is 

Received 20 June 1978 
Data on natal down of tanagers (Thraupinae) are restricted to a few species 
only: Piranga olivacea (Wetherbee 1958) and Thraupis palm arum and Euphonia 
violacea (Collins 1963). This paper presents information on distribution and 
number of neossoptile sin 3 species of Thraupis-. the Blue-grey Tanager T. 
episcopus, the Palm Tanager T. palmarum and the Sayaca Tanager T. sayaca. 

Neossoptiles were counted on nestlings hatched under controlled condi- 
tions and taken from the nest within 24 hrs after hatching (stage A of 
Wetherbee 1957). Counts were made of damp neossoptiles under a micro- 
scope using a dissection pin as a pointer and preener. There were 5 episcopus, 
2 palmarum and one sayaca specimens available. One breeding pair only was 
involved for each species. Nomenclature of pterylae follows Wetherbee 
(1957) but equivalent terminology of Collins (1963) for some tracts is 
indicated. Secondary coverts were not divided into greater, middle and 
lesser ones. The taxonomic arrangement is that of Peters (1970). 

Neossoptiles of sayaca, palmarum and episcopus are blackish, dark grey and 
light grey respectively. An empirical impression of the total amount of natal 
down is : abundant in episcopus, moderate in palmarum and sparse in sayaca. 
This impression is caused by the difference in total neossoptile number, in 
length of neossoptiles (Table 1) and in number of barbs of each neossoptile. 

All neossoptiles from these tanagers have a similar structure : a very short, 
reduced rachis ending in from 1 to 1 5 barbs with barbules. The number of 

i 3 [Bull. B.O.C. zwwW] 

Table i 
Length (mm) of neossoptiles in the main pterylae of T. episcopus and T. palmarum. 
Tract T. episcopus T. palmarum 

Scapular 12-13 5-6 

Spinal 10 5 

Coronal 9-10 4-5 

Retrices 2-5 1-2 

Primaries 1 o 

barbs varies considerably: primaries and rectrices have 1-2 (the shortest ones 
often appear bristle-like); femoral and ventral neossoptiles have 2-8; 
coronal, occipital, scapular, spinal and secondary covert neossoptiles have 
6-15. The number of barbs in neossoptiles of a given tract increases from 
sayaca, palmarum to episcopus. 

The number of neossoptiles in the different tracts and the total number of 
neossoptiles for 8 nestlings of the 3 Thraupis species are given in Table 2. 
Zero means that neossoptiles were sometimes absent. As in many other 
species, the number of neossoptiles in certain pterylae is very variable, the 
range increasing with the increase of nestlings examined ; therefore data on 
the one sayaca nestling should be carefully interpreted. 


5 2 

Natal dowr 

i of 8 Thraupis : 





T. sayaca 

T. palmarum 



















Scapular (humeral) 


















Abdominal (ventral) 


















Rectrices (caudal) 



























Secondary coverts 



























(a) for the 'ventral' tract of sayaca, see text. 

In the discussion which follows, Collins (1963) data on palmarum are used 
for comparison. 

Coronal and occipital tracts. 

In all 3 Thraupis species, 14 and 4 neossoptiles are typical for these 2 tracts respectively. 
In sayaca and palmarum the 2 tracts are clearly separated; however, in episcopus they tend to 
join and form one capital tract of 18 neossoptiles. 

Scapular (humeral) tract. 

Neossoptile numbers varied from 8 to 10 and were typically 9. 

Femoral and abdominal (ventral) tracts. 

Greatest variation in neossoptile numbers was found in the ventral tracts. 

T. palmarum: 13-15, average 14, femoral neossoptiles and a uniserial row of on average 
10 abdominal neossoptiles. 

T. episcopus: The femoral tract had 9-18 neossoptiles, highly variable. Only one specimen, 
with abundant down, had abdominal neossoptiles (10 on each side). 

T. sayaca: In palmarum and episcopus nestlings, femoral and abdominal tracts were in the 
typical positions (Wetherbee 1957). In the one sayaca nestling, the femoral tract was later- 
ally displaced towards the caudal region : a uniserial row of neossoptiles ran from the upper 

[Bull.B.O.C. 1979: 99(0] 14 

ventral region into the normal femoral region. As this may be an individual variation only, 
data on other nestlings are needed. 

Crural tract. 

Crural neossoptiles around the lower tibiotarsus were present in some nestlings of all 3 
Thraupis species, with abundant natal down. 

Caudal tract. 

In episcopus and palmarum nestlings, almost all 1 2 rectrices bear a neossoptile. The 2 outer 
caudal neossoptiles only were present in the one sayaca nestling. 

Alar tract. 

Primaries and primary coverts. In 4 of the 5 episcopus nestlings 5-10 primary neossoptiles, 
were found, in contrast to the other 2 species which showed none. Primary covert neossop- 
tiles are completely absent in all Thraupis nestlings. 

Secondaries and secondary coverts. A few secondary neossoptiles were found in only 
one episcopus nestling, one which had abundant natal down in other tracts. In all Thraupis 
nestlings examined (Table 2) the number of secondary covert neossoptiles was more 
constant than numbers in other tracts. For the 3 Thraupis species, an average of 18 neossop- 
tiles is typical. 

Spinal tract. 

This tract averages 30 neossoptiles in all 3 Thraupis species. A double row of 14-18 dorsal 
neossoptiles joins a uniserial row of 8-12 upper pelvic neossoptiles, ending in a short 
double row of 2-6 paired neossoptiles in the lower pelvic region. 

We have tried to determine a standard neossoptile distribution pattern for 
each of the 3 Thraupis tanagers by taking a typical neossoptile number in 
each tract (Table 3). From these figures, our neossoptile counts of Thraupis 
seem to confirm a correlation already mentioned by Collins (1963, 1973) and 
Harrison (1974) between a substantial reduction in number of neossoptiles 
and a cavity nesting habit. In open cup nesting species (P. olivacea and 
Thraupis species) 'covering' neossoptiles in pterylae of the upper parts 
(coronal, occipital, scapular, secondary covert and spinal tracts) are more 
abundant than in cavity nesting species. These neossoptiles camouflage a 
nestling in an open nest, making it less conspicious, thus lowering risks of 

Table 3 

Natal pterylosis of 5 Thraupinae tanagers : typical numbers of neossoptiles. Pterylae with 
neossoptiles in a few nestlings only and numerical averages of widely varying numbers of 
neossoptiles are indicated with an asterisk. All tracts are 'halved', except for the spinal tract. 

Euphonia viola eta 

Piranga olivacea 

Thraupis episcopus 

Thraupis sayaca 
(this study) 

Thraupis palmarum 
Collins 1973) 

(Collins 1963) 

(Wetherbee 1958) 

(this study) 

(this study) 














Scapular (humeral) 








J 3 




Abdominal (ventral) 











Rectrices (caudal) 












Primary coverts 












Secondary coverts 












Number of nestlings 







15 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

Neossoptile distribution patterns of only 5 species of Thraupinae have 
been described (Table 3). Only 4 pterylae (coronal, occipital, scapular and 
spinal) are always present; they are all found on the upper parts. The occipital 
tract only has a constant number of 4/4 neossoptiles. Neossoptile numbers 
for wing and leg pterylae are extremely variable throughout the 5 species. 
This variability is found also in the natal down pattern of Tersininae, e.g. 
Tersina viridis (Collins 1973) and of other Emberizinae, e.g. Sicalis flaveola 
and Tiaris olivacea (Harrison 1974), Sporophila finches (Collins & Kemp 1976) 
and Paroaria gularis (Collins & Bender 1977). 

With regard to this extreme variability within the natal pterylosis, the 
neossoptile distribution pattern may prove to be a taxonomic character of 
limited utility. Only more extensive data on the natal pterylosis of neotropical 
passerines may reveal any real value in establishing taxonomic relationships. 

Acknowledgements : I wish to thank Dr. C. T. Collins (California State University, U.S .A.) 
for commenting on this paper. 

References : 

Collins, C. T. 1963. The natal pterylosis of tanagers. Bird-banding 34: 36-38. 

— 1973. The natal pterylosis of the Swallow-tanager. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 93: 155-157. 

— & Kemp, M. H. 1976. Natal pterylosis of Sporophila finches. Wilson Bull. 88: 154-157. 

— & Bender, K. E. 1977. Cervical neossoptiles in a neotropical passerine. Bull. Brit. Orn. 

ci. 97: 133-135. 

Harrison, C. J. O. 1974. Reduced natal down in some emberizine species. Bull. Brit. Orn. 

CI. 94: 71-72. 

Peters, J. L. 1970. Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 13 (R. A. Paynter, Jr., Ed.) Cam- 
bridge, Mass.: Mus. Comp. Zool. 

Wetherbee, D. K. 1957. Natal plumages and downy pteryloses of passerine birds of North 
America. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 113: 339-436. 

— 1958. New description of natal pterylosis of various bird-species. Bird-banding z<): 

Address: Dr. J. J. T. Ingels, Galgenberglaan 9, B-9120 Destelbergen, Belgium. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

Morphometry, wing loading and food of 
western Darfur birds 

by R. T. Wilson & D. M. Ball 

Received 29 June 1978 
Darfur is known ornithologically onJy from the pioneering work of Admiral 
Lynes(Lynes 1 924-1 92 5) and some minoi publications by Madden (1934, 1935, 
1946). Later books with references to Darfur draw, apparently in entirety, 
from Lynes (Cave & MacDonald 1955, Mackworth-Praed & Grant i960). 
The opportunity presented by an 18 months stay in western Darfur was 
taken advantage of and an effort has been made to monitor changes in the 
environment, the distribution and the seasonality of the avifauna which 
have taken place in the last 60 years. Full results have not yet been analysed. 
This preliminary note presents some physical data and information on food 
for a number of Darfur birds. Nomenclature generally follows that of White 

In Table 1, linear measurements are all in millimetres, wing area in square 
centimetres, weights in grams. Wing area was calculated from a drawn 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979- 99(01 

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[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 20 

outline of one wing either by counting squares on graph paper or by using 
a gravimetric method, the resulting figure being doubled to obtain total wing 
area: wing loading, expressed as g/cm 2 , was determined as the net weight 
divided by the wing area. Where parametric data for a number of individuals 
of a species are available they are presented as the mean ^ standard deviation 
and extremes of range. All data refer to adult, non-breeding birds, unless 
otherwise stated. 

References : 

Cave, F. O. & MacDonald, J. D. 1955. Birds of the Sudan. Oliver and Boyd: Edinburgh. 

Lynes, H. 1924-192 5. On the birds of north and central Darfur, with notes on the west- 
central Kordofan and north Nuba provinces of British Sudan. Ibis, nth Series (6): 
399-446, 648-719. 12th Series (1): 71-131, 344-416, 541-590, 757-797. 

Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. i960. Birds of Eastern and North Eastern 
Africa. Longmans: London. 

Madden, J. F. 1934. Notes on the birds of Southern Darfur. Sudan Notes Rec. 17: 83-101. 

Madden, J. F. 1935. The birds of Southern Darfur, Part II, Passerines. Sudan Notes Rec. 
18: 103-118. 

Madden, J. F. 1946. Bird migration at El Fasher, 1944. Sudan Notes Rec. 27: 221-224. 

Addresses: R. T. Wilson, 21 Westfield Grove, Wakefield, U.K.; 
D. M. Ball, Hunting Technical Services, Borehamwood, U.K. 


A further note on the status of Monticola pretoriae 
Gunning & Roberts, 191 1 

by T. Farkas 

Received 14 July 1978 

In his remarks on Monticola pretoriae, Clancey (1968) stated that this species is 
simply a well-marked race of Monticola brevipes. It seems that his opinion has 
been taken over without further examination of the available material, even 
by Hall & Moreau (1970). 

The fact that M. brevipes shows a well-marked seasonal dimorphism, the 
different stages of which had earlier been misconstrued by Sclater (1930) as 
morphs, was first described in detail by Farkas (1962), but Clancey evidently 
overlooked this paper. Later, in a paper on M. pretoriae (Farkas 1966), I 
chose the lack of seasonal dimorphism in pretoriae as the main evidence for 
the reinstatement of it as a good species; this also Clancey appears not to 
have taken into account. 

Clancey (1968) describes 2 male 'intergrades', though it is not clear why 
he regards these specimens as such, nor is it stated at what time of year 
they were collected. Certainly, as Clancey describes, the 2 specimens show 
some white colour on their heads, concealed by blue-grey apices; but this 
only qualifies them, together with a third specimen from Kosterfontein in 
Western Transvaal, as adult males of M. brevipes in different stages of their 
eclipse plumage. The dry Griqualand West and adjoining areas of the Orange 
Free State are, in any case, outside the range of M. pretoriae as there is no 
suitable habitat in that area. 

21 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)1 

The 2 'type specimens' of M. brevipes leucocapilla (Bangs 1930) must be 
considered invalid. Proof is to be found in the description in both Latin and 
French by Lafresnaye (1852) of a white-headed adult male of M. brevipes. 
Furthermore, the specimen to which the tag with the inscription ''leucocapilla 
is fitted today, is a plain grey-headed adult male without any trace of white, 
not even concealed by any blue-grey apices. I am grateful to R. A. Paynter 
jun. for confirming this for me. Clancey seems to have overlooked the rele- 
vant reference in my 1966 paper. It therefore seems clear that Lafresnaye's 
white-headed specimen must have disappeared, and its detached tag fitted to 
a similar-looking specimen, which by chance happened to be one of the then 
unknown M. pretoriae. Consequently, no type locality for leucocapilla is 
needed, since Clancey (1968) in any case considers leucocapilla to be a synonym 
of brevipes. 

References : 

Bangs, O. 1930. Types of birds now in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard. 
Bull. Mus. Comp. Zoo I. 70: 145-425. 

Clancey, P. A. 1968. The status of Monticola pretoriae Gunning and Roberts, 191 1. Bull. 
Brit. Orn. CI. 88: 126-128. 

Farkas, T. 1962. Zur Biologie and Ethologie der Gattung Monticola (Boie). I. Teil; Monti- 
cola brevipes (Waterhouse). Die Vogelwelt 83 (4): 97-116. 

Farkas, T. 1966. Zur systematischen Stellung des Pretoria-Steinrotels Monticola pretoriae 
Gunning & Roberts. Die Vogelwelt 87(2): 33-48. 

Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. Brit. 
Mus. (Nat. Hist.): London. 

Lafresnaye, F. 1852. Quelque nouvelles especes d'oiseaux. Rev. et Mag. Zool. 4: 460-471. 

Sclater, W. L. 1930. Sy sterna Avium Aethiopicarum. Part II. Taylor and Francis: London. 

Address: Dr. T. Farkas, Posbus 266, Bloemfontein 9300, S. Africa. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Bird weights from northeastern Argentina 

by Julio R. Contreras 

Received 14 July 197$ 

This paper presents the weights of 244 specimens of birds belonging to 93 
species and subspecies, collected during 3 field trips to the so called Meso- 
potamic Region of Argentina, which comprises the Provinces of Entre 
Rios, Corrientes and Misiones. A few papers have supplied weight data of 
Argentine birds (Fiora 1933, 1934, Contreras 1975, Contreras & Davies 
1978), but there is an almost complete lack of information about the weight 
of Mesopotamic birds. 

Unless otherwise indicated, specimens were secured in the following 
localities: about the Parana City neighbourhood (PA); in San Cosme 
gallery forests and swamps (SC); in the jungle, grasslands and swamps of 
Paso Mbaracaya, on the shore of the Parana River (PMB); and in Estancia 
Ibiratingay, in the same latter kind of habitat (EIB). The first locality belongs 
to the Province of Entre Rios and the last 3 to the Province of Corrientes. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 22 

The information for each specimen also includes breeding condition indi- 
cated by gonad development as a (active), i (immature or inactive). Fat 
condition, when significant, is mentioned. Weights were recorded to the 
nearest tenth of a gramme and were taken as soon as possible after death. 

The nomenclature used follows Olrog (1963), with some changes advo- 
cated mainly in Meyer de Schauensee (1971) and Short (1975). 

Pbalacrocorax brasilianus brasilianus: $ a, EIB, Mar, 2008-0. 

Ama^pnetta brasiliensis : $ a, EIB, Mar, 588-0. 

Cathartes burrovianus: $ a, EIB, Mar, 1272-0. 

Polyborus chimango chimango: $ i, PMB, Jan, 216-0. 

Tringa solitaria: $ a, EIB, Mar, 67-5. 

Gallinago gallinago paraguaiae: <$ i, EIB, Mar, m-o (fat). 

Porphyrula flavirostris: $$ a, PMB, Jan, 103 • 5, 93 -o. 

Jacanajacana: <J a, Bella Vista (Corrientes), Jan, 106-5 ; <? a, PMB, Jan, 75 -o; $ a, Isla San 

Martin (Corrientes), Jan, 144*0; $ a, EIB, Mar, 132-0. 
Columba cayennensis silvestris: J a, EIB, Mar, 425 • o; (J a, Rio Victoria (Misiones), Jul, 464-0. 
Columbina picui picui: <$<$ a, EIB & PA, Jan & Oct, 47-5, 56- 5 ; $ a, PA, Oct, 59-0. 
Columbigallina talpacoti talpacoti: <J a, PMB, Jan, 5 2 • 2 ; $<$ a, EIB, Mar, 52-2, 50-5, 53-5. 
Leptotila verreauxi chloroaucbenia: <J a, PA, Sep, 185-0; <J i, PA, Sep, 165-0. 
Leptotila ruf axilla reicbenbachii '.- $ i, PMB, Jan, 169-0; $ a, EIB, Mar, 183-0. 
Myopsitta monacha cotorra: $ a, EIB, Mar, 97-0; $$ i, EIB, Mar, m-o, 117-0. 
Coccy^us cinereus: $ i, El Palenque (Entre Rios), Jan, 34-8. 
Piaya cay ana macroura: $$ a, EIB, Mar, 119-5, I 34*°> 9 2 *o- 
Crotophaga major: <$ i, PMB, Jan, 179-0. 
Crotophaga ani: <£ i, PMB, Jan, 93-0; <$ 2l, Rio Victoria (Misiones), Jul, 120-2; $ a, PMB, 

Jan, 85-5. 
Guira guira: o* i, EIB, Mar, 126-5; $ a, PMB, Jan, 182-0. 
Tapera naevia chochi: <$ i, EIB, Mar, 44-0. 

Athene cunicularia grallaria: o* i, PMB, Jan, 122-0; $ a, PMB, Jan, 168 -o. 
Caprimulgus parvulus parvulus: $ a, PMB, Jan, 34-0. 
Chlorostilbon lucidus lucidus: <$$ a., PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 3-8, 3-7. 
Hylocbaris chrysura chrysura: $ a, PA, Sep, 4-0; o* i, PMB, Jan, 4- 2; $ a, PA, Sep, 5-0. 
Ceryle torquata torquata: o* i, Ituzaingo (Corrientes), Jan, 254-0; $ i, EIB, Mar, 309-0; 

$ a, EIB, Mar, 325-0. 
Chloroceryle americana matthewsi: 6* i, PMB, Jan, 35-5. 
Colaptes campestroides: $ a, PMB, Jan, 174-0; $ i, PMB, Jan, 179-5. 
Colaptes melanochlorus : 6* i, EIB, Mar, 109-0. 

Veniliornis passer inus olivinus: <$ a, EIB, Mar, 30 • o ; o* i, PMB, Jan, 30 • 2 ; $ a, EIB. Mar, 32.0. 
Lepidocolaptes angustirostris: $ a, EIB, Mar, 27-8; 6* i, PMB, Jan, 30-2; 0*6* i, EIB, Mar, 

29-8, 29-5; ?? a, PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 31-5, 33-5. 
Furnarius ruf us ruf us: $<$ a, PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 57-5, 50-5; gg a, PA, Sep, 57-0, 

59-0, 50-0; $ a, Isla Apipe Chica (Corrientes), Jan, 48-5. 
Schoeniophylax phryganophila phryganophila : <$<$ a, PA, Sep, 20-0, 22-5, 18 -o; $$ i, PA, Oct, 

16-9, 19- 5; $ i, La Paz (Entre Rios), Jan, 17-8. 
Synallaxis ruficapilla: $? i, PMB, Jan, 15-8, 16 -o, 14-4. 
Synallaxis frontalis frontalis: $ a, PA, Sep, 13-0; $$ a, PA, Sep & Oct, 15-0, 16 -o; ? a, 

EIB, Mar, 16-3. 
Certhiaxis cinnamomea russeola: <$ a, PMB, Jan, 14-0; $ a, SC, Jan, 16-9. 
Phacellodromus ruber: $$ a, PMB, EIB & PA, Jan, Mar & Sep, 38-2, 36-5, 45-0; $$ i, 

PMB, Jan, 34-9, 40-5; $$ a, SC & EIB, 38-3, 35-8. 
Anumbius annumbi: $ i, EIB, Mar, 27-0. 

23 [Bull. B.O.C. i?7p: 99(1)] 

Thamnophilus gilvigaster gilvigaster: $ i, SC, Jan, 21-7. 

Xolmis cinerea: <J i, EIB, Mar, 54- 8; $$ a, EIB, Mar, 61 • 8, 62-0. 

Xolmis irupero: $ a, EIB, Mar, 29-5. 

Arundinicola leucocephala: o*6* a, PMB, Jan, 13-8, 15-9. 

Alachetornis rixosa rixosa: $ a, EIB, Mar, 34-0. 

Muscivora tyrannus tyrannus: $ a, PMB, Jan, 34-0. 

Tyrannus melancbolicus melancholicus : $ a, PMB, Jan, 43-4; $ a, EIB, Mar, 46*0. 

Myiodynastes maculatus solitarius: <$ i, PMB, Jan, 39-5. 

Megarhynchus pitangua pitangua: $ i, PMB, Jan, 58-0; $ a, PMB, Jan, 60-5. 

Pitangus sulfur atus bolivianus: $ a, PA, Oct, 75 -o; $ a, EIB, Mar, 59-5. 

Myiarchus tyrannulus tyrannulus: 3$ i, PMB, Jan, 28-0, 22-8, 30-0; <$$ i, EIB, Mar, 29-6 

(fat), 23-8; $ i, PMB, Jan, 24-0. 
Empidonax euleri euleri: 0*6* a, PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 13 • 8, 12- 3; $ i, PMB, Jan, 12-1. 
Myiphobus fasciatus flammiceps : £<$ a, PA, Sep & Oct, 12-1, 15-3, 15*0, 15-0. 
Hirundinea bellicosa bellicosa: $ a, PMB, Jan, 42-0; $ i, PMB, Jan, 39-5. 
Pseudocolopteryx sclateri: o* a, PMB, Jan, 6-8. 
Serpophaga subcristata: $ a, PMB, Jan, 8 • 6; 6* i, EIB, Mar, 6-8. 
Serpophaga munda munda: o* a, PA, Sep, 4-8; $? a, PA, Sep, 4-5, 7-0 (with egg). 
Myiopagis viridicata viridicata: $ a, PMB, Jan, 1 1 • 8. 
Campostoma obsoletum obsoletum: $ a, EIB, Mar, 7 • 9 ; $ i, PMB, Jan, 7 • 4. 
Phytotoma rutila rutila: $ a, PA, Oct, 45 -o. 
Hirundo rustica erythrogaster: o* i, PMB, Jan, 18 -8. 
Cyanocorax chrysops chrysops: <$ a., PMB, Jan, 160-0. 
Troglodytes aedon musculus: <$<$ i, EIB, Mar, 10-7, n-o, io*8; $ a, PMB, Jan, 12*1; °- i, 

PMB, Jan, io-i. 
Troglodytes aedon bonariae: $& a, PA, Apr, Sep & Oct, 9-5, 10-5, 13-0, io-o, 10-5, 11-5; 

$ a, PA, Sep, 13-0 (with egg); $ i, PA, Apr, 12-0. 
Turdus amaurochalinus : $ a, PA, Sep, 63-5; o*6* i, PA & EIB, Sep & Mar, 60 -o, 57-0; 

°.°. a, PA, Sep & Oct, 67-0, 60 -o, 70-0, 67-0, 70-0, 67-0. 
Turdus rufiventris rufiventris: $$ i, EIB, Mar, 64 • o, 69 • 5, 65 • 5 ; $ i, PMB, Jan, 69 • o ; unsexed, 

PMB, Jan, 77-0. 
Turdus leucomelas leucomelas: 6* i, EIB, Mar, 75 -o; $$ a, EIB, Mar, 66-5, 74-5. 
Cyclarhis gujanensis gujanensis: ££ i, EIB, Mar, 27- 5, 29- 2; $$ a, PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 

28-0, 28-0, 28-8. 
Vireo olivascens: 6* a, PMB, Jan, 14-0. 
Parula pitiayumi pitiayumi: °. i, EIB, Mar, 7 • 3 . 
Geothlypis aequinoctialis velata: $£ i, PMB, Jan, 15-5, 11 • 5 ; -# i, PA, Sep, 12 • 8 ; $ a, PMB, 

Jan, 10 -8. 
Molothrus bonariensis bonariensis: $ a, EIB, Mar, 58-3. 
Molothrus badius badius: 6* a, PA, Sep, 50-0; $ a, PA, Oct, 43-5. 
Icterus cayanensis pyrrhopterus: 6* i, PMB, Jan, 28-5. 
Agelaius cyanopus: $ a, PMB, Jan, 32-2. 
Gnorimopsar chopi chopi: <$ i, EIB, Mar, 61 *o. 

Tanagra cayana chloroptera: o* a, PMB, Jan, 19 • 8 ; $ a, PMB, Jan, 21-6. 
Thraupis sayaca sayaca: $<$ i, EIB, Mar, 32-2, 32*5; $$ a, EIB, Mar, 30-5, 33-9, 29-5; 

$i, EIB, Mar, 33-0. 
Thlypopsis sordida sordida: $$ i, EIB, Mar, 16-3, 15-2; $$ a, PMB & EIB, Jan & Mar, 

17-8, 16-3; $ a, Paso Jupiter (Corrientes), Jan, 17-6. 
Saltator caerulescens : <j>$ a, PMB, Jan, 75 • 3, 62- 5 ; unsexed, PMB, Jan, 56-0. 
Paroaria capitata capitata: $$ a, PMB, Jan, 22-0, 23-2; 6* a, Bella Vista (Corrientes), Jan, 

22 -o; $$ i, SC, Jan, 20-2, 20-2. 
Cyanocompsa cyanea sterea: $<$ a, PMB, Jan, 22- 3, 20-0; $ a, SC, Jan, 20-5. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 24 

Cyanocompsa cyanea argentina: $ a, PA, Sep, 21-3. 

Sporophila collaris melanocephala: $ i, Bella Vista (Corrientes), Jan, 12 • 8. 

Sporophila minuta hypoxantha: $ a, PMB, Jan, 8-9. 

Spinus magellanicus ictericus: $ a, EIB, Mar, 1 1 • o. 

Coryphospingus cucullatus rubescens: $<$ a, PMB, Jan, 14*3, 14*4. 

Arremon flavirostris polionotus: $ a, PMB, Jan, 30-3; £$ a, EIB, Mar, 29-2, 28*0, 28*0; 
<J i, EIB, Mar, 28-2; ?$ a, PMB & EIB, Jan &c Mar, 29-9, 27-9, 27-8. 

Ammodramus humeralis: $<$ a, PMB, Jan, 14-3, 1 5 • 5 ; 6* i, PMB, Jan, 15-2. 

Zonotrichia capensis: <J6* a, PMB, Jan, 22-5, 22-5, 22-2;$ i, PMB, Jan, 19-5. 

Poospi^a nigrorufa nigrorufa: $ a, PA, Apr, 17-0; <$<$ a, PA, Sep, 20-0, 20-7; $ a, PA, Sep, 
20 -o. 

Poospi^a melanoleuca: <$<$ a, PA, Sep, 15*0, 15-0; $$ a, PA, Sep, 14*0, 15-0. 

Embernagra platensis platensis: £ a, PMB, Jan, 28-2; <J i, PMB, Jan, 27-5. 

References : 

Contreras, J. R. 1975. Caracteristicas ponderales de las aves del Parque Nacional Nahuel 

Huapi. Physis 34: 97-107. 
Contreras, J. R. & Davies, Y. E. 1978. Aportes para el conocimiento del peso de las aves 

argentinas : I. Hornero (in press). 
Fiora, A. 1933, 1934. El peso de las aves. Hornero 5: 174-188, 353-365. 
Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1971. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Edinburgh & London: 

Oliver & Boyd. 
Olrog, C. C. 1963. Lista y distribucion de las aves argentinas. Opera Lill. 9: 1-377. 
Short, L. L. 1975. A zoogeographic analysis of the South American Chaco avifauna. Bull. 

Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 154: 163-352. 

Address: Julio R. Contreras, Iadiza, Casilla de Correo 507. 5500, Mendoza, Republic of 

First records of Sporophila caerulescens from Colombia; 

a probable long distance migrant from southern 

South America 

by J. V. Remsen^ Jr. <& Eugene S. Hunn 

Received 1 8 July 1978 

On 5 Aug 1974 Remsen saw 5 Double-collared Seedeaters Sporophila caeru- 
lescens in adult male plumage, and several associating females presumed to be 
this species, just south of the airport runway at Leticia, Amazonas, Colombia. 
The same group of birds was studied again the following day for 20 minutes 
from as close as 7 m. They were feeding at the tips of tall grass stems along a 
roadside. A single male was seen there again on 3 Nov 1974, although no 
birds had been seen in the interim. Specimens could not be obtained because 
the road bordered a Colombian military installation, but there was no doubt 
as to the identification. The Double-collared Seedeater is distinctly marked, 

25 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

with a dark grey chin bordered by clean, white malars and a white throat, 
and a narrow, grey chest band, features unique within this genus. Remsen is 
familiar with the two dark-and-white seedeaters occuring at Leticia, S. 
americana and S. lineolalbouvronides. 

On 7 and 1 1 Aug 1975 Hunn studied 1-2 males in weedy fields on the out- 
skirts of Leticia. The distinctive throat and chest markings were seen clearly, 
as well as the overall grey upperparts, white underparts, and absence of a 
wing speculum. No territorial behaviour or singing was noted in any of the 
Leticia observations ; the birds did not appear to be local residents and indeed 
could not be subsequently relocated. 

Not only is S. caerulescens unkown previously from Colombia (Meyer de 
Schauensee 1964, 1970) but there are no previous records from north of the 
Amazon River. Its range is south of the Amazon in lower Amazonian, east- 
ern, southern, and southwestern Brazil, eastern Peru, northern and eastern 
Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, and south to central Argentina (Meyer de 
Schauensee 1966, Paynter 1970). The localities in eastern Peru are based on 
specimens thought to be migrants from the southeast (O'Neill 1969). The 
6 specimens from Balta in southeastern Peru were collected between 25 Jun 
and 25 Jul. The 3 specimens from Yarinacocha, farther north in east-central 
Peru were obtained between 1 Aug and 5 Aug, virtually the same August 
dates as the Leticia observations. Yarinacocha, although 700 km southwest 
o r Leticia, is still the closest known locality to Leticia for this seedeater. 

S. caerulescens is primarily a stem-gleaner. It seldom feeds on the ground, 
concentrating on those seeds still born by the stalks. This is equally true for 
S. lineolajbouvronides and at least 6 other seedeaters (Schwartz 1975 and in lift.). 
When areas no longer produce appropriate seeds on the stalk, specialized 
stem-gleaning seedeaters such as Sporophila are obliged to look elsewhere 
for food, whereas other granivorous birds remain to feed on the reservoir 
of fallen seeds (P. Schwartz). This results in wandering to varying de- 
grees and seasonality in the distribution of some species, as noted by Slud 
(1964) and Ridgely (1976) for S. minuta and S. nigricollis in Costa Rica and 
Panama respectively, and by P. Schwartz for these and all other seed eaters he 
knows in Venezuela. Remsen also noted pronounced changes in the numbers 
of S. caerulescens present at Tumi Chucua, near Riberalta, Beni, Bolivia: 
from 4 to 22 Nov 1976 (beginning of wet season), this species was seen daily 
in flocks of up to 200 in tall grass pasture borders, but it was completely 
absent during a second visit 29 Dec 1976-14 Jan 1977 (middle of wet season). 
In the intervening 5 weeks of daily field work in savannah 200 km south of 
Riberalta S. caerulescens was seen only once, a flock of 4 on 2 December. 

Schwartz (1975) indicated that the northern South America populations 
of S. lineolajbouvronides are long distance migrants, not just off-season wander- 
ers. Although Short (1975) considered S. caerulescens to be non-migratory, 
it seems probable that this species also makes long migrations, as thought 
by Hudson (1920) and O'Neill (1969), and suggested further by our Leticia 
observations, since Leticia is over 11 00 km from northeastern Bolivia, 
the nearest breeding locality. 

Movements of S. caerulescens and other Sporophila are undoubtedly tuned 
to wet and dry seasons and the effect of these on grass seed production. The 
dry season throughout the eastern Bolivia-Paraguay-northern Argentina- 
southern Brasil region is Jun-Sep, during which time S. caerulescens would 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 26 

be most likely to be on the move, and it is these months which have produced 
the records for Peru and Colombia. The August Leticia records coincide with 
the local 'dry' season there, but rain still falls then almost every other day and 
grass seed production is virtually continuous. It seems likely that the presence 
of S. caerukscens at Tumi Chucua, Bolivia, was a reflection less of local condi- 
tions than of long established behaviour related to food availability in the 
breeding range farther south; those flocks could even have been transient 
from 'wintering' grounds further to the north where more continuous rain 
provided appropriate seeds. 

Hudson (1920: 45) stated that S. caerukscens was one of the last to arrive at 
and first to depart from Buenos Ayres, where 'summer' lasts late Nov-Mar. 
Dr. Gloria de Villafane says that in northern Buenos Aires Province grasses 
and other appropriate plants begin to seed in November, reaching a peak 
sometime in January or February (per P. Schwartz). Thus it may be signifi- 
cant that the Tumi Chucua birds disappeared completely sometime between 
22 Nov and 29 Dec. The single bird at Leticia in November may also have 
been returning to the south. 

Much more data are needed, since not even the total breeding range of this 
species is known for certain. As emphasized by Schwartz (1975), gonad 
measurements and fat data are particularly important for determining migra- 
tory as opposed to breeding status. The degree of migratory behaviour in 
Sporophila will probably be a function of (a) seasonality of seed production 
on breeding ground, (b) degree of specialization on seeds born only on stalks, 
and (c) distance to nearest suitable feeding areas. 

Acknowledgements : Remsen's field work was supported by grants from the National 
Science Foundation and the Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fund. He is also grateful to Sr. 
Mike Tsalickis of Leticia and the staff of the Summer Institute of Linguistics at Tumi 
Chucua, especially Bob and Lois Wilkinson, Guy and Jean East, and Ron Olson, for aid 
and hospitality. We thank Steven L. Hilty and John P. O'Neill for their comments on an 
earlier draft, and are deeply indebted to Paul Schwartz for sharing his knowledge and for 
detailed and percipient comments. 

References : 

Hudson, W. H. 1920. Birds of La Plata. Vol. 1. New York: Dutton. 

Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1964. The Birds of Colombia. Narberth, Pennsylvania: Livingston. 

— 1966. The Species of Birds of South America and their Distribution. Narberth, Pennsyl- 
vania: Livingston. 

— 1970. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Wynnewood, Pennsylvania: Livingston. 
O'Neill, J. P. 1969. Distributional notes on the birds of Peru, including twelve species 

previously unreported from the Republic. Occ. Pap. Mus. Zool. Louis. St. Univ. 37 : 1-1 1. 
Paynter, R. A., Jr. 1970. Emberizinae. In Check-list of Birds of the World. Vol. 13. Cambridge 

Mass. : Museum of Comparative Zoology. 
Ridgely, R. S. 1 976. A Guide to the Birds of Panama. Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton Univ. 
Schwartz, P. 1975. Solved and unsolved problems in the Sporophila lineolajbouvronides 

complex (Aves: Emberizidae). Ann. Carneg. Mus. 45: 277-285. 
Short, L. L. 1975. A zoogeographic analysis of the South American Chaco avifauna. Bull. 

Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 154: 165-352. 
Slud, P. 1964. The birds of Costa Rica. Distribution and ecology. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. 

Hist. 128: 1-430. 

Addresses: J. V. Remsen, Jr., Museum of Zoology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana 70893, U.S.A. ; Eugene S. Hunn, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Washing- 
ton, Seattle, Washington, 98195, U.S.A. 


27 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

An undescribed subspecies of Rudd's Apalis 
Apalis ruddi from southern Malawi 

by D. B. Hanmer 

Received 14 August 1978 

Hitherto Rudd's Apalis Apalis ruddi has only been known in a peculiarly 
limited distribution in northern Zululand and southern Mozambique and in 
adjacent Swaziland (Hall & Moreau 1970: 181, Clancey 1966: 481, 1971: 
50), with Vilanculos (21 59' S, 35 19' E) as the northernmost locality 
(Clancey 1971: 50, 162). Benson & Benson (1977) make no mention of it 
reaching southern Malawi, as a possibility even, though they suggest the 
possible occurrence there of 3 other species with an essentially lowland coas- 
tal distribution, viz. Lamprotornis corruscus, Anthreptes reichenowi and Nectari- 
nia veroxii. (Examples of other lowland species which have already occurred 
are Batis fratrum and Malaconotus viridis.) It is therefore of outstanding interest 
to record the occurrence of Apalis ruddi at Nchalo, lower Shire Valley 
some 640 km almost due north of Vilanculos (see vegetation map in Wild & 
Fernandes 1967). The single specimen retained, of 3 recognised (see later), 
is considered sufficiently distinct to merit designation by name : — 

Apalis ruddi caniviridis subsp. nov. 

Description (colour references, Ridgway 191 2): Nearest to A. r. ruddi 
Grant, but crown slightly more bluish, rest of upperparts more greyish, less 
yellow-green (Dull Citrine, pi. xvi, v. Citrine, pi. iv). Underparts no different. 
Upper surface of wings with ground greyer, less yellowish (citrine) green : 
likewise of tail, colder and greyer, less yellowish (citrine) green, but no 
appreciable difference in the yellow apical spotting. Iris noted at time of 
collecting as deep red (perhaps nearest Maroon or Claret Brown, pi. i), as 
against brown in A. r. ruddi. No apparent difference in size. 

The name caniviridis (greyish green) is an allusion to the greyer green back 
and greyer tint to the ground of both wings and tail. 

Distribution: Only known from Nchalo (16 16' S, 34 55' E), lower 
Shire Valley, Malawi, at 60 m above sea-level. 

Type: Museum of Malawi No. MMB. 549, adult q\ found recently dead by 
Mrs D. B. Hanmer on 21 December 1977. 

Measurements and weight of Type: Wing (flattened) 48, tail 47-5, culmen 
from skull 15, tarsus 19-5 mm, weight 10-2 g. 

Material examined: The type has been compared with 7 specimens of A. r. 
ruddi from the plains of Mocambique from the mouth of the Limpopo River 
northwards in Sul do Save and 3 of the very distinct A. r. fumosa Clancey 
(1966: 481) in the Durban Museum. 

Other remarks: Two other individuals similar in plumage to the type of 
A. r. caniviridis have been netted at Nchalo since I started working there in 
1973, but had to be released. Their particulars were as follows (external 
sexing seemingly impossible): — 2 Jan 1978, wing 49, tail 53 mm, weight 
9 • 6 g; 3 Apr 1978, wing 50, tail 5 2 mm, weight 9 • 8 g. The January specimen 
had the iris light brown, not deep red, and was probably immature. A fourth 
bird with a red eye, was seen on 14 Jul 1978 in a guava tree in my garden. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1) J 28 

The first bird was found dead on the edge of dense thicket (cf. Benson & 
Benson 1977: 22) after an insecticide spraying operation, while the other 
two birds were caught in, and released from, nets set up in the open, but with 
dense thicket only some 2 m distant on either side. This is almost certainly 
its true local habitat, in which it must be very sparse, and the reason why it 
has remained undiscovered since ornithological exploration started in the 
lower Shire Valley more than a century ago (Benson & Benson 1977: 220). 
Further south, the habitat of A. r. ruddi seems very similar, and it likewise is 
very sparse (Clancey 1971 : 50). Possibly the 2 populations are by no means 
as widely sundered as might be supposed from present knowledge and in 
this respect the relatively small scale map of Wild & Fernandes (1967) may 
be misleading. However, P. A. Clancey suggests that the new race may be 
restricted to the relatively dry country of the southern Shire Valley and the 
adjacent Tete District of Mozambique, being more or less cut off from south- 
ern populations by the Brachystegia country of Manica and Sofala. 

The sparseness of A. ruddi might be explained as unsuccessful competition 
with A. flavi 'da, as suggested by Hall & Moreau (1970: 181), and since 48 
A. flavida have been ringed at Nchalo since 1973, this may be the case. Also, 
the almost complete clearance of woodland and thicket in the lower Shire 
Valley outside protected areas may have caused a movement of thicket 
dwelling species into areas where they did not previously occur. Several 
have been caught recently at Nchalo, which almost certainly did not occur 
there previously: — e.g., Turtur afer, T. tympanistria, Cercococcyx montanus, 
Apaloderma narina, Merops boehmi, Malaconotus viridis and Trochocercus cyano- 
melas, although not all of them have remained there to breed. 

Hall & Moreau suggest that ruddi has a hybrid derivation from A. thoracica 
and A. flavida, but C. W. Benson and M. P. Stuart Irwin agree that, on the 
basis of an examination of museum specimens, it is derived from flavida. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank P. A. Clancey for his invaluable help in comparing the 
specimen of A. r. caniviridis with material of A. r. ruddi and fumosa and for his assistance 
with the description of the new race. I also wish to thank C. W. Benson and Dr. A. C. 
Kemp for helpful correspondence, while the former has assisted in the writing of this 
note. The work at Nchalo has been assisted by grants from the Frank M. Chapman Memorial 
fund, for which I am most grateful. 

References : 

Benson, C. W. & Benson, F. M. 1977. The Birds of Malawi. Limbe: D. W. K. Macpherson 

Clancey, P. A. 1966. A catalogue of birds of the South African sub-region. Part IV. Durban 
Mus. Novit. 7 (12). 

— 1971. A Handlist of the Birds of Southern Mozambique. Lourenco Marques: Inst. Invest. 
Cient. Moc. 

Mall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. London: 
Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). 

Ridgway, R. 191 2. Color Standards and Color Nomenclature. Washington, D.C.: A. Hoen. 

Wild, H. & Fernandes, A. (eds.) 1967. Vegetation Map of the Flora Zambesiaca Area. Salis- 
bury: Gov'ts of Portugal, Malawi, Zambia, Rhodesia and U.K. 

Address: Mrs. D. B. Hanmer, Sucoma, Private Bag 50, Blantyre, Malawi. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 


29 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

A population of Anthus similis on the Togo range 
in eastern Ghana 

by I. R. Taylor & M. A. Macdonald 

Received j October 19/8 

During a visit to the area of Amedzofe (6° 52' N, o° 28' E) in eastern Ghana 
in August 1976 we were told by Mr. G. Vanderstichelen about an unidentified 
pipit which had been seen regularly in the past on a nearby hilltop (known 
locally as Mt. Game, 760 m) by himself and Dr. L. G. Grimes. We located 
the birds and it soon became obvious that it was a bird unknown to either of 
us. We took a full description of the plumage, calls and behaviour on that 
occasion and supplemented this with notes made in June 1977 (when an 
unsuccessful attempt was made to secure a specimen) and June 1978. These, 
together with our knowledge in the field of all other pipits likely to be found 
in the area, led us to identify the birds as Long-billed Pipits Anthus similis, 
a species known elsewhere in West Africa only from isolated highland areas 
of Sierra Leone-Guinea-Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger and Chad (Serle & 
Morel 1977). 

Because of the interest attached to the discovery of what appears to be a 
separate population of this greatly fragmented species we provide here a full 
field description of the birds together with notes on their behaviour and 

Description. A largish pipit, appearing slightly smaller than ^4. novae seelandiae 
(not available for direct comparison) perhaps because of its more crouching 
stance. Crown mantle and rump brown with definite but poorly delineated 
darker centres to feathers. At a distance streaking above was not apparent 
and the upperparts appeared uniform earth brown. Forehead darker than 
nape. Supercilium white to off-white, line through eye black, short narrow 
malar stripe black. Bill dark, not exceptionally long, slender. 

Throat whitish. Breast buff to greyish with distinct narrow streaks on lower 
throat and breast, the streaked area sharply divided from the plain lower- 
breast and belly. Lower-breast, belly and under-tail coverts were very variable 
between individuals, shading from pale bufflsh- white to deep rufous-buff. 

Wings dark with pale margins to median and greater coverts, 'primaries 
and secondaries. 

Tail moderately long, brown with off-white outer feathers more or less 
tinged with pale buff. The narrow pale fringe visible in flight suggested that 
the pale colour is confined to the outermost feathers with little or none on 
the second pair. 

Legs moderate length, flesh colour. 

Calls. A faint 'cheet cheet'; a very short soft metallic 'twink' given 
before and just after rising, and intermittently in flight; a drawn-out 'tsee' 
heard only in flight. 

Song. A repeated 'tue-tseeu' or 'tue chwheeu', the second note being very 
harsh. Given while stationary on the ground, possibly while hovering. 
Heard in June 1977 and June 1978. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 30 

Behaviour. Usually seen on rocks and rocky bluffs, avoiding trees, but 
flushed frequently from grass, to which it probably walked from the rocks 
on which it landed. Two birds in August 1976 seen in small cassava farm on 
the edge of the grassland. Gait rather creeping, suggestive of A. spinoletta. 

Numbers. On Mt. Game and 2 minor peaks below it we found evidence of 
only 4-5 pairs of pipits, a low population considering the area of apparently 
suitable habitat. 

Habitat, The Togo Range is part of a chain of peaks 760-91 5 m high runn- 
ing from southeast Ghana to northern Benin (formerly Dahomey) where it 
becomes the Atakora Range. Amedzofe lies at the extreme southern end of 
this chain. 

The summit on which the birds were found was bare of trees (a state 
which appears to be natural and not man-made) and covered with a variety 
of coarse tussocky grasses and dwarf herbs. The slopes were scattered with 
numerous emergent rocks and slabs. On two sides the peak was flanked by 
sheer rock faces, one a very high cliff, the other a low bluff 6-9 m high. The 
birds were frequently found on the smaller of the faces. The habitat seems 
typical of A. similis which is 'usually associated with highland grasslands 
and rocky slopes' (Hall & Moreau 1970). Similar grass-topped summits 
occur to the northeast of Amedzofe and it seems probable that the bird will 
be found on any peak in the range which combines open grassland with 
scattered rocky outcrops. 

Acknowledgements : We are very grateful to Mr. G. Vanderstichelen for bringing this bird 
to our notice and for introducing us to Amedzofe. 

References : 

Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. i960. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. British 

Museum (Natural History): London. 
Serle, W. & Morel, G. J. 1977. A Field Guide to the Birds of West Africa. Collins: London. 

Addresses: Dr. I. R. Taylor, Dept. of Zoology, University of Ghana, Legon; Dr. M. A. 
Macdonald, Dept. of Zoology, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. (Present address of both: 
Dept. of Forestry and Natural Resources, King's Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh.) 

Notes on the song, territorial behaviour and the display 

of the Antillean Crested Hummingbird 

Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis of St. Lucia, W.I. 

by Karl-L. Schuchmann 

Received 14 October 1978 

During a research programme on the hummingbirds of St. Lucia, West 
Indies in December 1977 and August 1978, morphological and ethological 
data on the Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis 
were collected in the southwestern part of the island, the Mt. Gimie area 
(Edmund Forest Reserve, elevation 1300 m). This sexually dimorphic 
species (Bond 1961) is the most common hummingbird on St. Lucia and is 
distributed virtually from sea level to montane rain-forest. It is the smallest 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 

in weight and size of the 3 trochilids on this island. In montane habitats, 
where regularly all 3 hummingbird species overlap, O. c. exilis normally- 
feeds on flowers close to the ground (e.g. Lantana camard), while the other 
two, the Green-throated Carib Sericotes holosericeus and the Purple-throated 
Carib Eulampis jugularis, frequently visit flowers from 2 to 3 m above the 
ground up to the tree tops (e.g. Spathodea campanulatd). 

The mensural and weight characteristics of O. c. exilis (Table 1) indicate 
that females differ significantly from males in wing-length (p<o-oo2 5; 
t-test) and tarsus (p<o-ooo5 ; t-test). 

Table i 
Mensural and weight characteristics of Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis of St. Lucia, West Indies. 







Wing (mm) 





46-0-51 -o 
46 • 0-46 • 7 



Tail (mm) 







27 • 0-3 1 • 


Bill (mm) 









Tarsus (mm) 








Weight (g) 








Only the males of 0. c. exilis establish feeding territories. The females 
forage along fairly regular routes, 'traplining' many dispersed flowers 
(Colwell 1973, Feinsinger 1975). During the breeding season from January 
to August males hold display territories containing a feeding teiritory (core 
area) and an outer edge (buffer zone; see Pitelka 195 1). The males advertise 
their presence in their territories by singing (see Fig. 1). Contrastingly, 
females establish only nesting territories, where they persistently attack 
intruders. I have never heard a female sing, but have occasionally noted a 
monosyllabic chase- call. 






0.5 sec 

Fig. 1 . Singing posture of $ Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis and sonogram of the song. 

At the time of mating the female has already built her nest. Display and 
copulation take place in the male's territory. A female which enters a 
display territory is usually treated as a competitor for food and chased away 
immediately by the male. As soon as the female manages to perch in the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979'- 99(0] 3 2 

core area of the display territory the male's aggression is eliminated by species- 
specific behaviour, namely by the female perching motionless in front of 

The observed display of the male can be divided into 3 different phases 
before the actual mating takes place (see Fig. 2) : 

Fig. 2. Display phases of Orthorhyncus cristatus exilis (see text). 

1) The male hovers with erected green iridescent crest in a vertical 
position in front of the female about half a metre distant. 

2) The male flies in 'slow-motion' at a high wing-beat rate towards 
the female and abruptly claps the wings against the fanned retrices, 
producing a mechanical noise. 

3) Immediately in front of the perching female the male, still with 
erected crest, starts flying to and fro at high speed in a semi-circle around 
the female. At the end of each semi-circle the male again produces a 
mechanical sound by beating the wings against its widely spread tail- 
feathers. During this flight pattern of the male, the colour of the iri- 
descent green crest changes in relation to its angle to the female. The 
iridescence is optimally displayed when the male is exactly centrally in 
front of the female. The male repeats this flight 4-6 times. During the 
male's display the female is motionless except for slightly opening the 
beak in phase 3. Thereupon, the male copulates with the female. 

A similar display has been observed with the Wire-crested Thorntail 
Popelairia popelairii (Schuchmann 1976). 

Acknowledgement: The hummingbird research project was kindly supported by G. Charles, 
Dept. of Forests, Castries, St. Lucia, W.I. J. W. Glover gave the manuscript a critical 

References : 

Bond, J. 1 96 1. Birds of the West Indies. Collins: London. 

Colwell, R. K. 1973. Competition and co-existence in a simple tropical community. Amer. 

Nat. 107: 737-760. 
Feinsinger, P. 1975. On the relationship between wing disc loading and foraging strategy 

in hummingbirds. Amer. Nat. 109: 217-224. 
Pitelka, F. A. 195 1. Ecologic overlap and interspecific strife in breeding populations of 

Anna and Allen Hummingbirds. Ecology 32: 641-661. 
Schuchmann, K.-L. 1976. Beitrag zur Biologie des Haubenfadenkolibris, Popelairia popelairii. 

Z. Koln. Zoo 19: 11-13. 

Address: Karl-L. Schuchmann/P.o.V., Zoological Institute, D-6000 Frankfurt/M., 
Siesmayerstr. 70, W. Germany. 

33 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(*)] 

Sexual dimorphism in the Yellow-billed Shrike 

Corvinella corvina and in other African shrikes 

(subfamily Laniinae) 

by L. G. Grimes 

Received 11 November 1978 
During cooperative breeding studies of the Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella 
corvina in Ghana, adults and nestlings were colour ringed and a small collec- 
tion of skins made (9 <£, 6 J, 5 juv). Contrary to statements in some hand- 
books on African birds sexual dimorphism is possible through a patch of 
colour restricted in fullgrown shrikes to the mid section of the flank feathers ; 
its development was followed through observations of ringed juveniles. 

In females the colour pattern, beginning at the base of a typical flank 
feather (4-5 cm long), is dark slate grey for approximately the first cm of its 
length, Maroon (No. 31 in Smithe 1975) for the next cm and white for the 
remaining 2-3 cm. There is usually some faint grey barring near the tip, 
which is white in old females and tinged Cinnamon-Rufous (No. 40) in 
young females. The rachis is dark brown almost black and contrasts with the 
white of the outer half of the feather. This gives the flank a streaked appear- 
ance similar to the underparts of an adult shrike. In males the first cm of a 
flank feather is dark slate grey as in females, the next cm is between Cinnamon 
and Cinnamon-Rufous (Nos. 39 and 40). In older full grown males the 
terminal half of a flank feather is dark grey (in no way white) with some 
faint rufous barring near the tip. In relatively young males (at least 2 yr -5 m 
old) the cinnamon and cinnamon-rufous colour extends the whole way to 
the tip of the feather and usually there are one or more faint grey bars near 
the tip. 

The maroon and cinnamon-rufous colour patches of the mid section of the 
flank feathers provide an unambiguous means of distinguishing the sexes of 
C. corvina in the field. Unfortunately these may be concealed for long periods 
and escape notice, but they are exposed to good effect when the shrikes 
aie in group territorial disputes, in displays at a nest or when individual birds 
are preening. They are not normally visible in museum skins and this prob- 
ably accounts for the lack of reference to them in most African handbooks. 
Swains on (1837) first drew attention to these feathers but incorrectly credited 
the dark maroon colour (i.e., 'very deep and pure chestnut') to the male. 
Neumann (1910) described their colours correctly as does Bates (1930). 
Bannerman (1939, 1953), however, and Serle, Morel & Hartwig (1977) make 
no mention of sexual differences. Mackworth-Praed & Grant (i960) describe 
the male as having a pale chestnut patch and simply state that it is absent in 
the female. The same authors (1973) mention the maroon patch (they describe 
it as chestnut) on the flanks of the female and add that it is usually paler in 
the male. This is incorrect in my experience and their statement suggests 
that some skins they examined had been incorrectly sexed. 

During moult from the juvenile plumage, both sexes have the tips of their 
flank feathers faintly coloured cinnamon-rufous. This was first noted by 
Alexander (1902), but subsequently overlooked. It may be picked out in the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(0] 34 

field by about the 7th week of life and may persist as late as the 20th week. 
Around about the nth or 12th week the sexual dimorphic colours on the 
flank feathers are sufficiently developed to allow separation of the sexes in 
the field. Early in the study when these plumage changes were not known, 
females showing this surface patch of cinnamon-rufous were incorrectly 
sexed as males. 

An examination of skins of African shrikes (subfamily Laniinae) at the 
British Museum (Natural History), Tring revealed that sexual dimorphism 
similar to that of the female C. corvina occurs in several species, but not all. 
In the female Magpie Shrike C. (Urolestes) melanoleucus the flank patch is 
white whereas in the male the flank feather is uniform black similar to feathers 
of the underparts. Females of Lanius excubitorius, L. cabanisi, L. dorsalis, L. 
mackinnoni and most races of L. collaris (see later) have a concealed maroon 
patch on their flanks as in C. corvina. The males, however, do not have the 
cinnamon-rufous patch of the male C. corvina and their flank feathers are slate 
grey at the base merging to white at the tips, as are the rest of the feathers of 
the underparts. In contrast no sexual dimorphism occurs in the flank feathers 
of L. excubitor and L. somalicus and these are similar to those found in the 
male Lanius species already listed. Interestingly, juvenile L. cabanisi have the 
cinnamon-rufous wash on the surface of their flank feathers, but it was not 
detectable on the skins examined of juvenile L. excubitorius. In addition, a 
a young female L. cabanisi had the characteristic maroon colour concealed 
underneath this surface colour, as is found in C. corvina. 

In the African red-backed shrikes, the female of L. sou^ae has a tawny wash 
to the flanks which distinguishes it from the male, but this is not the same as 
the restricted patch of concealed colour on the flanks of the fiscal shrikes 
and Corvinella species. In the remaining L. gubernator, sexual dimorphism is 
evident on the upperparts, but the flank colours are similar in both sexes. 

The phenomenon of a (concealed) maroon flank patch in females of 5 
species of Lanius shrikes seems to be a peculiarity of sub-Saharan Africa. 
This had been previously realised by Jackson & Sclater (1938) and, as a 
result, in their treatment of the genus Lanius they used subgenera and accor- 
ded these 5 species together with L. excubitor and L. somalicus to a subgenus 
Fiscus. The Fiscal Shrike L. collaris is also unusual as 3 of its sub-species L. c. 
newtoni (found on Sao Thome), L. c. capelli (found in west Uganda, southern 
Zaire, Zambia, Malawi and most of Angola) and L. c. Smithii (Sierra Leone to 
central Camerouns and further eastwards) lack this female characteristic (White 
1962, M. Macdonald and I. Galbraith in. lift). 

The relationships between Lanius species is uncertain. Hall & Moreau 
(1970) suggest that L. excubitor and L. somalicus belong to the species group 
which includes L. collaris, L. dorsalis and L. mackinnoni and they include the 
Asian species L. sphenocercus , which also lacks the maroon flank patch in the 
female. At the same time they place L. excubitorius and L. cabanisi in a separ- 
ate group, and these shrikes, unlike the Fiscal group, are gregarious through- 
out the year as are the Corvinella species. 

Mayr & Short (1970: 71) have also examined relationships within the 
genus Lanius and proposed a superspecies comprising L. excubitor ; L. 
ludovicianus (found in southern North America and which may prove to be 

35 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(i)] 

conspecific with excubitor) and possibly L. sphenocercus. They suggest in 
addition that L. dorsalis, L. somalicus, L. excubitorius (excubitoroides), L. 
schach (southeast Asia and New Guinea), L. tephronotus (northwest Himalayas) 
and L. minor at least should be treated with them as a species group. 

If Hall & Moreau, and Mayr & Short are correct in their suggestions, 
then in Africa these female maroon flank patches have developed indepen- 
dently in two groups of Lanius species not immediately closely related 
(C. M. N. White in. lift), as well as in C. corvina. 

Amadon (1966) has emphasised that sexual dimorphism in plumage, 
however slight, is to be assumed adaptive. Swainson (1837) assumed that 
the colour difference in the flanks of C. corvina would be shown to play an 
important part in their sexual behaviour. Duiing the 5 years of the coopera- 
tive breeding study, copulation was observed on 5 occasions only, and on 
none of these occasions were the flank colours prominently displayed. They 
are prominent during territorial disputes, but in what way they are significant 
in these displays is not known, and more study is required. As there are no 
closely related shrikes sympatric with C. corvina and C. melanoleuca, it is 
difficult to identify the selection pressures that would maintain the plumage 
dimorphism in these species. Presumably the same selection pressures apply 
to the other gregarious shrikes, L. excubitorius and L. cabanisi, which are also 
allopatric species. The presence of the distinctive patch in the females of 
L. mackinnoni, L. dorsalis and most races of L. collaris is again unusual. 
Current ideas on the development of sexual dimorphism (Thomson 1970) 
in sympatric species would lead one to expect the sex charactet to be present 
in the male rather than the female. A further complication is that the African 
shrikes show only limited sympatry and the most interesting species to high- 
light this is L. collaris. The absence of the maroon patch in the insular L. c. 
newtoni is not unexpected. Nor is it too surprising in L. c. capelli, which is 
only sympatric with mackinnoni in two relatively small areas of its range (Hall 
& Moreau 1970). However, contrary to expectation, in South Africa L. c. 
collaris, the only Lanius present, has the maroon patch in the female. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to acknowledge the helpful discussions with C. M. N. White 
during the preparation of this paper and to thank C. W. Benson for commenting on it. 
I also thank Mr. I. C. J. Galbraith for arranging for me a loan of Lanius skins. 

References : 

Alexander, B. 1902. On the birds of the Gold Coast Colony and its hinterland. Ibis, Ser 

8(2): 278-333, 355-377- 
Amadon, D. 1966. Avian plumages and moults. Condor 68: 263-278. 
Bannerman, D. A. 1939. The Birds of Tropical West Africa. Vol. 5. The Crown Agents for 

the Colonies: London. 

— 1953. The Birds of West and Tropical Africa. Oliver & Boyd: Edinburgh. 

Bates, G. L. 1930. Handbook of the Birds of West Africa. Bale & Danielsson: Edinburgh. 
Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. British 

Museum (Natural History) : London. 
Jackson, F. J. & Sclater, W. L. 1938. The Birds of Kenya Colony and the Uganda Protectorate. 

3 Vols. Gurney and Jackson : London. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. i960. The Birds of Eastern and Northeastern 

Africa. Vol. 2, 2nd edition, Longmans: London. 

— 1973. Birds of West, Central and Western Africa. Vol. 2. Longmans: London. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(i;J 36 

Mayr, E. & Short, L. 1970. Species taxa of North American birds. Nuttall Ornith. Club. 

Cambridge, Mass. 
Neumann, O. 1910. Die Geschlechtsklieder zweier afrikanischer Vogel. Ornith. Monat. 18: 

Serle, W., Morel, G. J. & Hartwig, W. 1977. A Field Guide to the Birds of West Africa. 

Collins: London. 
Smithe, F. B. 1975. Naturalist* s Color Guide. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist.: New York. 
Swainson, W. 1837. The Natural History of the Birds of Western Africa. Vol. 1. Lizars, 

Highley & Currey: Edinburgh. 
Thomson, A. L. 1970. A New Dictionary of Birds. Nelson: London. 
White, C. M. N. 1962. A Revised Check List of African Shrikes, etc., Gov. Printer: Lusaka. 

Address: Dr. L. G. Grimes, Rossal School, Fleetwood, Lanes. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

The Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina: an abnormal 
host of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo Cuculus gularis 

by L. G. Grimes 

Received 23 October 1978 

The recorded number of host species parasitised by the Yellow-billed 
Cuckoo Cuculus gularis are few. Friedmann (1967) lists 10 possible species, 
but Payne & Payne (1967) and Jensen & Jensen (1969) reduce this to 6 
(Dicrurus adsimilis, Turdoides jardineii, T. libonyanus, Pycnonotus barbatus, 
Lanius collaris, Passer diffusus) for which there is, in their opinion, unambigu- 
ous data that nest parasitism occurs. To this list can now be added the Yellow- 
billed Shrike Corvinella corvina, albeit an apparently abnormal host. 

During a 5 -year study of the cooperative breeding behaviour of this 
shrike at Legon, Ghana (5 38' N, o° 11' W) only one case of nest parasitism 
was discovered in over 160 shrike nests that were found. The nest belonged 
to a group of 9 shrikes, and the intention was to use it to study the feeding 
rates of nestlings and the individual contributions made by the shrikes, 6 of 
which were colour ringed. The nest was not, therefore, visited after the clutch 
size was known (5 eggs completed on 25 April) until the expected hatching 
dates (12/13 May). During 10 hours of observations on 15 May from a hide 
placed 20 m away from the nest there was no unusual behaviour to suggest 
that anything was amiss. The mean feeding rate of 5 • 1 feeds/hr was not 
unexpected for a nest that possibly contained a brood of 3 or 4 shrikes a few 
days old, and all members of the group participated in feeding. The next 
observations from the hide were on 23 May and 30 minutes elapsed before I 
realised that a well feathered C. gularis nestling was the sole occupier of the 
nest. My field description of the nestling agreed with that of Tarboton (1975), 
and the identification is certain in my mind. The cuckoos Clamator levaillantii 
and Chrysococcy < caprins also breed at Legon, but their nestlings cannot be 
confused with that of C. gularis (Jensen & Jensen 1969). Further periods were 
spent observing the cuckoo on 25 and 26 May. By this time the bird filled the 
nest, uttered calls quite unlike a shrike's of the same age, and crouched in the 

37 [Bu/I.B.O.C.i 979 : 99 (i)] 

nest quivering its wings when being fed rather than moving excitedly to- 
wards the incoming bird with the food, as do nestling shrikes. Although I 
never saw the cuckoo at close quarters, only observing it through binoculars 
(8 X44), I am confident, judging from its behaviour on 26 May, that it did not 
starve to death in the nest. What eventually became of it is not known ; it was 
not in the nest on 28 May, and it was never seen again. There is a possibility 
that it left the nest prematurely due to the hostility of the helper shrikes (see 
later). Unfortunately the incubation period of the cuckoo's egg is not known 
accurately enough (11-17 days — Tarboton 1975) to exclude the possibility 
that it was fully fledged when it left the nest (fledgling period 22 days — 
Tarboton 1975). Either way it is reasonable to conclude that it was aban- 
doned after it left the nest, for on 28 May the shrikes continued to visit the 
nest and the female called from it; by 7 June the shrikes were visiting a new 
nest. As a young Yellow-billed Cuckoo is thought to be dependent on its 
foster parents long after it leaves the nest (Friedmann 1948 : 59), it is assumed 
that it did not survive. 

The behaviour of the group of shrikes at this nest, particularly that of the 
breeding female, was markedly different from that at a normal nest (Grimes 
in prep.). While incubating and brooding, most females call and beg in much 
the same manner as dependent fledglings, and in response other members of 
the group visit the nest and usually bring food. When the female is brooding, 
all food brought for the nestlings is first given to her, and she then feeds 
the young. The constancy of brooding (expressed as a percentage and defined 
as the proportion of the time spent brooding, or quasi-brooding in the case 
of the cuckoo) is normally initially the same as the constancy of incubation 
(Fig. 1) (Skutch 1976). The value of brooding for a nest with young shrikes 
becomes zero on about the 8th or 9th day, the young remaining in the nest 
for a further 10 days. In marked contrast to such normal behaviour, the 
female remained for long periods on the nest for the whole time the cuckoo 
was in it, and long after it was necessary to brood it. The time on the nest 
increased rather than decreased (Fig. 1), and throughout her extended stay 
on the nest the female persistently called and begged. 

During 14 hours of observations on 23, 25 and 26 May, 136 visits to the 
nest were made by various members of the group. On 51 (37%) of these no 
food was brought. On 32 visits (23 %) the food brought was not given to the 
cuckoo but either eaten by the shrike bringing it or by the brooding female. 
Of the 5 3 recorded feeds given to the cuckoo, 3 8 (72 %) were via the breeding 
female. Marked hostility was shown by several helper shrikes towards the 
cuckoo while the breeding female was away from the nest; it was pecked 
and gripped about the bill and legs, and harsh alarm calls and threat displays 
were frequent. Such hostility, and inefficiency or reluctance by helpers in the 
group to feed young in the nest never occurred at nests with young shrikes. 
These observations suggest that the cuckoo would have had little food 
had it not been for the persistent begging and calling of the female shrike. 
Because of this and the marked difference between the behaviour of the 
helpers to the cuckoo and their behaviour to young of their own species, 
it seems reasonable to conclude that the nest parasitism was abnormal. Of 
the known hosts of the cuckoo, two (Turdoides jardineii and Pycnonotus 
barbatus) breed at Legon but their breeding has not been studied; other 
potential hosts at Legon are T. plebejus and Passer griseus. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 



+ J2 


Fig. 1. The constancy of incubation and brooding recorded at three (O, (3), #) normal 
nests of Corvinel la corvina and at one (+) nest parasitised by the cuckoo Cuculus gularis. The 
time is in days relative to the hatching (day zero) of the shrike's eggs. 

Although what is known of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo does not suggest 
that there is marked development of host mimicry, and the cuckoo's egg 
was not seen, it is of interest that one of the known types of egg laid by the 
cuckoo (Pitman 1957, Tarboton 1975), described as being very pale pink 
with spots of mauve and russet, is not dissimilar to the egg of the shrike. 

Acknowledgements : I am grateful to Mr. F. Walsh for drawing my attention to the interest 
of these observations and to Dr. R. B. Payne for commenting on the paper. 

References : 

Friedmann, H. 1948. The Parasitic Cuckoos of Africa. Washington: Academy of Sciences. 
— 1967. Alloxenia in three sympatric African species of Cuculus. Proc. U.S. National 

Mus. 124: 1-14. 
Jensen, R. A. C. & Jensen, M. K. 1969. On the breeding biology of southern African 

Cuckoos. Ostrich 40: 163-181. 
Payne, R. B. & Payne, K. 1967. Cuckoo hosts in southern Africa. Ostrich 38: 135-143. 
Pitman, C. R. S. 1957. On the eggs of the African cuckoo, Cuculus canor us gularis Stephens. 

Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 77: 138-139. 
Skutch, A. F. 1976. Parent Birds and their Young. Austin & London: University of Texas 

Tarboton, W. 1975. African Cuckoo parasitising Forktailed Drongo. Ostrich 46: 186-188. 

Address: Dr. L. G. Grimes, Rossall School, Fleetwood, Lanes, England. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

39 [Bull. B.O.C.i 979 : 99 (i)] 


Protection of Geronticus eremita 

In response to my note {Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 97: 72) on the protection of the 
Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita I received information from 49 observers, 
mainly about the colonies in Morocco, for which I am very grateful. I shall 
be pleased to continue to receive any data of any sort. 

The information shows a diminishing population. Around 1940 there 
might have been 500 pairs in Morocco. By 1966, of the 38 known breeding 
colonies, 19 had disappeared. There has been no further information about 
6 other colonies since 1967. Cultivation of previously semi-arid feeding 
areas as well as an increasing disturbance at the breeding sites, seems to 
have been the cause. Of the remaining 1 3 colonies, 3 were deserted, but 3 
new ones were discovered. 

In 1975 I found 198 pairs breeding at 13 colonies, 5 of which (77 pairs) 
seem to have been unknown. There has been a dramatic decline from 121 
pairs in 1975 to 42 pairs in 1978 according to the information sent to me, 
mainly caused by hunting and disturbance by tourists, as well as by the 
collection of eggs and young for the animal trade. Age determination of 
the Waldrapp (Hirsch (1976) Orn. Beob. 73: 225) to distinguish between 
possible breeding or non-breeding birds outside the colony is of help in 
observations sent to me. 

About 70% of the Moroccan Waldrapp population is present throughout 
the year. As wintering places, there are probably only 3 preferred areas. 
For the protection of the breeding places an IUCN/WWF programme will 
try to establish nature reserves in typical coastal areas, the plains and the 
High Atlas. 

12 August 1978 Udo Hirsch 

Address: World Wildlife Fund, Conservation Department, CH 11 10 Morges, Switzerland. 

First record in the Seychelles of Northern Pintail 

Anas acuta acuta 

On 18 Feb 1977 an adult pair of Northern Pintail Anas acuta acuta was ob- 
served at Mane Island in the Seychelles. This is, according to Dr C. J. Feare, 
the first record of Pintail for the Seychelles. They were seen together on a 
rock in a marshy area, surrounded by mangrove, near Police Bay at the 
southern point of Mahe Is. Photographs were taken, one of which is to be 
deposited in the Museum of Zoology of Cambridge University. The winter 
distribution of Northern Pintail is given as 'south to North Africa, the Nile 
Valley, Abyssinia, Persian Gulf, India, Ceylon . . .' by P. Scott (1972), and 
Williams (1963) considers the Pintail to be a 'less common winter visitor to 
East Africa'. 

Ducks are seen fairly frequently in the Seychelles during the northern 
winter, most of them Anas querquedula, but several much larger ducks have 
also been seen but not identified (C. J. Feare). Penny (1974) lists no ducks in 
the Seychelles but mentions the record of Dendrocygna viduata at Aldabra. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(1)] 40 

To me it seems most probable that the Pintails were brought the 2,000 km 
to the Seychelles from East Africa or Abyssinia by the northwest monsoon. 
There are no islands between the African mainland and the Seychelles 
except the Amirant Islands about 800 km southwest of the Seychelles. 

J wish to thank Dr. C. J. Feare for his information on ducks in the Seychelles and his 
advice about publishing this record. 


Penny, M. 1974. The Birds of the Seychelles and the Outlying Islands. Collins : London. 

Scott, P. 1972. A Coloured Key to the Wildfowl of the World. W. Royle: London. 

Williams, J. G. 1963. A Field Guide to the Birds of East and Central Africa. Collins: London. 

12 October 1978 N. T. Ebenhard 

Address: Framgangen 16, S-831 OO Ostersund, Sweden. 


Eggs from the Collections of E. L. Lay: 

In relation to Brooke's paper (1978, Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 98: 75-80) on nine- 
teenth century seabird eggs in the South African Museum, it may be of 
interest to note that Layard appears to have been in the habit of conducting 
extensive exchanges of eggs with other collectors, and many of his are now 
in the British Museum (Natural History), and probably in other museums 
as well. In the process of recataloguing the BM(NH) collection, I have found 
a considerable number of Layard eggs from Ceylon, South Africa, Mauritius, 
Fiji, New Hebrides, New Caledonia and Tonga. Of these, approximately 
106 clutches were received directly by this Museum from Layard — a collec- 
tion from 'South Africa and the Southern Islands' which was received and 
registered in 1869. Other clutches of his have been received through the 
collections of Salvin, Tristram, Crowley, Henry Buckley, Rothschild, 
Gould and James Davidson. It is not at present possible to say how many 
eggs of Layard' s are in this Museum's collection, as the work of recataloguing 
will take some years to complete. 

16 November 1978 Michael Walters 

Address: British Museum (Natural History), Tring, Herts. 



Railing, C. 1978. The Voyage of Charles Darwin. Pp. 183. Profusely illustrated in colour. 

British Broadcasting Corporation: London. £6.75. 

An interesting selection of Darwin's autobiographical writings arranged in chronological 
order, mainly covering the voyage of the Beagle, but also about his education and the devel- j 
opment of his scientific and maturing thoughts. The selection is by the producer of the 
successful BBC 2 television series. The coloured illustrations are of the highest standard. 

Goodwin, 1978. Birds of Man's World. Pp. 183. Many photographs and line illustrations. 

Cornell University Press: Ithaca & London. £5.95. 

A simple but informative and lucid discussion of the impact of Man on the environment 
of birds, on birds in towns, on birds fed by Man and on birds introduced. There is an 
interesting set of observations on bread in the diet of over 25 species discussed individually 
and a final sensitive glimpse into a 'Future imperfect'. 


Papers, whether by Club Members or by non-members, should be sent to the 
Editor, Dr. J. F. Monk, The Glebe Cottage, Goring, Reading RG8 9AP, and 
are accepted on the understanding that they are offered solely for publication 
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Scientific nomenclature and the style and lay-out of papers and of Refer- 
ences should conform with usage in this or recent issues of the Bulletin, unless 
a departure is explained and justified. Photographic illustrations, although 
welcome, can only be accepted if the contributor is willing to pay for their 

An author wishing to introduce a new name or describe a new form should 
a.pp£tfanom.,gen., sp. or subsp. nop., as appropriate, and set out the supporting 
evidence under the headings "Description", "Distribution", "Type", 
"Measurements of Type" and "Material examined", plus any others needed. 

A contributor is entitled to 16 free reprints of the pages of the Bulletin in 
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reprints or reprints of contributions of less than one page may be ordered 
when the manuscript is submitted and will be charged for. 

Available post free on application to Dr. D. W. Snow, Zoological Museum, 
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Society, Regent's Park, London NWi 4RY. 

Published by the BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB and printed by 
The Caxton and Holmesdale Press, 104 London Road Sevenoaks Kent. 

ISSN 0007- 

Bulletin of the 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 99 No. 2 

June 1979 


Tuesday 10 July 19J9 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Goat Tavern, 3 Stafford Street, London 
W.i, (between Old Bond Street and Albemarle Street, nearest Underground station — 
Green Park). Mr. W. G. Harvey on Ornithology in Indonesia, including aspects of conservation. 
Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.15 a person together with their 
acceptance on the enclosed slip to the Hon. Secretary at 2 Chestnut Lane, Sevenoaks, 
Kent TN13 3AR to arrive not later than first post on Thursday, 5 July. 

Tuesday 18 September 19J9 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, South 
Side, Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, S.W.7. Mr. E. F. J. Garcia on The birds of Gibral- 
tar. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £3.95 per person to the Hon. 
Secretary at 2 Chestnut Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3AR to arrive not later than the first 
post on Thursday 13 September. 

Tuesday 20 November 1979 at Imperial College, Mr. M. E. J. Gore on "Birds of The 


C. F. Mann's address in the December Bulletin (98-4) should have been given as: 123 

Hartswood Road, London W12 9NG, England. 

Gifts or offers for sale of unwanted back numbers of the Bulletin are 
very welcome. 

P. Hogg {Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) 

R. D. Chancellor 

C. F. Mann 


Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chairman) 
Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 
B. Gray 
J. G. Parker 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

I %i '■ &\ [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Bulletin of the W c **£* 


Vol. 99 No. 2 Published : 20 June 1 979 

The seven hundred and eighteenth meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 6 March 1979 at 7 p.m. 

Present (Members' names in capitals) — P. HOGG (Chairman), Miss I. P. BARCLAY- 
SMITH and 2 guests, Mr. and Mrs. C. W. BENSON, K. F. BETTON, Dr. G. BEVEN, 
Mrs. D. M. BRADLEY and 2 guests, J. P. C. BURGESS, D. R. CALDER, R. D. CHAN- 
CELLOR, S. J. W. Coles, R. A. N. CROUCHER, M. D. England, I. J. Ferguson-Lees, 
D. J. FISHER and 1 guest, Mr. and Mrs. A. GIBBS and 1 guest, B. GRAY and 1 guest, 
M. E. K. Gore, D. GRIFFIN, P. Hayman, A. J. HOLCOMBE, Mr and Mrs. F. J. Hulbert, 
C. F. MANN, Dr. J. F. MONK, R. E. F. PEAL, R. Porter, P. S. REDMAN, P. J. SELLAR, 
Prof. W. H. Thorpe, P. D. W. TIMMS, Mrs S. J. TYLER, Mr. and Mrs. A. VITTERY, 
C. E. WHEELER and 7 other guests. Total — 23 Members and 27 guests. 

The speaker was Mr. M. D. England, O.B.E., who addressed the Club on "The birds 
of the Seychelles group of islands". He illustrated his talk with fine colour photographs 
which he had taken of birds of the Seychelles, including the first photographs ever of the 
Seychelles Brush Warbler Bebrornis seychellensis and the Seychelles Magpie Robin Copsychus 
seychellarum at the nest. 

* * * 

The seven hundred and nineteenth meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 24 April 1979 at 7 p.m. 

Present (Members' names in capitals) — P. HOGG (Chairman), Miss C. E. Appleby, 
Miss M. Barry, Dr. G. BEVEN, Mrs. D. M. BRADLEY, D. Bradley, J. P. C. BURGESS, 
R. Gray, MISS C. E. GODMAN, D. GRIFFIN, Miss J. M. Hogg, Mrs. P. Hogg, Miss 
C. S. Lloyd, Rev. and Mrs. G. K. McCULLOCH, C. J. MEAD, Dr. and Mrs. J. F. MONK, 
R. Monk, Dr. D. B. Peakall, R. E. F. PEAL, T. Stowe, Prof. W. H. THORPE. Total— 
15 Members and 13 guests. 

The speaker was Dr. David B. Peakall, whose subject was "Toxic chemicals and fish- 
eating birds in the Great Lakes". Severe reproductive failure was noted in several species 
offish-eating birds in the Great Lakes of North America in the early 1970s. Egg exchange 
experiments showed that both direct embryotoxic effects and behavioural effects were 
involved. Detailed studies have been made to evaluate these two aspects and some of the 
results have been published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. 


The eighty-seventh Annual General Meeting of the British Ornithologists' Club was held 
at Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 15 May 1979 at 6 p.m. with Mr. P. Hogg 
in the chair. Eight members were present. 

The Minutes of the eighty-sixth Annual General Meeting (Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 98: 33, 
36 & 75) were approved and signed. 

The Report of the Committee and Accounts for 1978 were presented. After a short 
discussion it was proposed by Mr. J. G. Parker and seconded by Mr. B. Gray that they be 
received and adopted and this was carried unanimously. 

There being no nominations additional to those of the Committee, the following were 
declared elected : — 

Hon. Treasurer: Mrs. D. M. Bradley (re-elected). 

Hon. Secretary: Mr. R. E. F. Peal (re-elected). 

Committee: Mr. R. D. Chancellor (vice Mr. C. E. Wheeler who retired by rotation). 
Mr. J. G. Parker (vice Mr. P. J. Oliver, who had resigned). 

The Meeting closed at 6.20 p.m. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 42 

The Laniarius bushshrikes in Sierra Leone 

by G. D. Field 

Received 4 October 1978 
The genus Laniarius of African bushshrikes (Malaconotinae) is a group of 
generally sedentary and skulking birds of heavy shrubbery, all advertising 
their presence throughout the year by their loud, whistled calls, generically 
similar but specifically distinct. The genus has speciated in 3 main directions : 
birds all black, birds black with red/yellow breasts, and birds with white 
breasts (the white usually suffused with a pinkish or buflfish wash). A repre- 
sentative of this last group is found over most of the lusher vegetation belts 
(except high forest) of the Ethiopian region, with 4 main forms over which 
there is controversy whether they should be considered full species (e.g. 
Hall & Moreau 1970) or races of one widespread species (e.g. White 1962). 

One distinctive form L. turatii (all black above, white, suffused pinkish 
buff below, differing from the neighbouring L. aethiopicus major which has 
white on the wings and a pinkish wash below) occupies the northwest 
corner of the group's distribution, in Guinea Bissau, Guinea, and western 
Sierra Leone. Writing of it Bannerman (1939) said "It is most important to 
discover whether their [aethiopicus and turatii] respective breeding ranges 
coincide or overlap". The purpose of this note is to plot the distribution of 
these and the other two Laniarius species (L. barbarus and L. leucorhynchus) 
which occur in Sierra Leone, to show that there is almost complete segrega- 
tion and that where they do overlap each behaves as a good species. 

The local race of L. barbarus, L. b. helenae (red breasted), is confined to the 
mangroves which clothe the tidal rivers and most of the coastline except for 
the southern strip, known from the northern border area south to Bonthe, 
hardly leaving the mangrove shelter even for the coastal thickets in the 
immediate vicinity. Though rarely seen, its clear double whistle is an easy 
indication of its abundance in this habitat. 

L. leucorhynchus (all black) was collected in 191 2 near Freetown and some- 
where on the Little Scarcies river in the northwest (Bannerman 1939), but 
its range has contracted (possibly resulting from the increased cutting of the 
forest regrowth and the spread of savanna conditions) and today it occurs 
commonly only in thick, virtually impenetrable forest regrowth or 'bush' 
in the southeast, west to Pujehun and the neighbourhood of Bo and north 
to Kono district. Isolated populations still probably occur further west but 
it is certainly extremely uncommon and, for instance, on the Freetown 
Peninsula during 1 5 years I have recorded (heard and seen) a pair one season 
only and that in atypical habitat of secondary forest, higher, darker, and 
easier to walk through than any Laniarius territory known elsewhere in the 
forest zone of Sierra Leone. Again, far the best indication of presence is the 
call, most commonly a series of 6-7 "hoo"s, ringing, full-sounding and 
resonant, with grating answers or slower, more measured "hooo"s from 
the female. 

L. turatii and L. aethiopicus divide the rest of the country between them, 
with altitude apparently the key to distribution here (though not elsewhere, 
turatii being found in the hills of Guinea and aethiopicus in lowland Ghana). 
Throughout the western lowlands, both in the moist wooded savanna of 


[Bull.B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

the north and the forest regrowth of the south (but not in true forest), 
turatii occurs, a common and successful species, marginally overlapping with 
leucorhjnchus both in terrain and habitat at Pujehun and north of Bo. On the 
higher ground of the eastern plateau, above 1000 ft. and including the 
plateaux of the true mountains at about 4000 ft, aethiopicus takes its place. 
Though found in the forest galleries on the mountains, it prefers more open 
country, and where geographically it overlaps with leucorhjnchus, in Kono 
district, they are ecologically segregated, aethiopicus in savanna woodland, 
leucorhjnchus in thick second growth. 







Scelt of Hiln 

tO 20 SO 40 50 

1 I I I 

\u / L.barbarus ,<s 

x: L .leucorhynchus A 

L. turatii — 

L .aethiopicus I 

Fig. 1. Map of Sierra Leone, showing all places mentioned in the text, the approximate line 
of the abrupt escarpment between lowland and highland, and the distribution of Laniarius 
species as known at the present time. Pre-1940 records are not shown, as the vegetation 
has changed so greatly as to render these largely obsolete. (Drawn by Mr. A. J. Elba.) 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 44 

The dividing line between turatii and aethiopicus cannot be fixed with 
complete accuracy, principally for geographical reasons, the abrupt escarp- 
ment from lowlands to highlands in central Sierra Leone not being easy to 
work and the extreme north, by the Guinea border, being ornithologically 
terra incognita. In the south of the range of aethiopicus there appears to be a 
genuine gap westwards where neither species occurs. I have worked the 
forest/ savanna mosaic country round Farangbaia and Bendugu fairly 
thoroughly with negative results. Similarly, in the wooded savanna along 
the northern stretch of the main Makeni-Kabala road there is a gap of 40 
miles where neither species is known, though not every point along the 
road has been covered. 

From Kabala, where aethiopicus is relatively common, the road goes north 
for 11 miles and then branches west for 15 miles to its end at Bafodia, 
1 1 00 ft. L. aethiopicus occurs all along this road and round Bafodia itself, its 
most westerly known station. A few miles east of Bafodia turatii also appears 
and there is at least a 6-7 mile stretch of east-west overlap (how far the 
north-south overlap continues is unknown), with no indication of inter- 
breeding or distinction of habitat. I have seen a pair of each species meet by 
chance in the same tree with no sign of mutual interest or aggression, the 
pairs continuing on their own foraging paths, and regularly one species 
occurs on ground where previously I have seen the other. Voice remains 
equally constant and specifically recognisable: turatii gives a long, metallic, 
single whistle "whooooo", which may be repeated several times and to which 
the female answers with a grating "k k k kkk"; aethiopicus has rather more 
variation but typically gives a much more liquid, slow 'hooo hooo hooo", 
sometimes lengthened to "hoo-00 hoo-00", or a quicker and lighter "poo 
poo poo", the female answering with various "kk" noises, again more 
variable than the equivalent turatii sounds. Their habits (as with all Laniarius) 
are very similar, but aethiopicus is rather more likely to mount into trees and 
is thus easier to see. 

Since there is no intergradation of forms, L. aethiopicus andZ^. turatii must 
have developed in isolation. The Bafodia area was until living memory well 
forested and there are still relict patches of forest and relict forest birds 
(e.g. Eurystomus gularis, Ceratogymna elata, Ploceus tricolor). Presumably the 
forest acted as a barrier separating the two. With its disappearance I suspect 
that turatii has pushed eastwards and, with the land rise here comparatively 
gentle compared with further south, has here, and here only, appeared 
above the 1000 ft contour. There is no indication as to which is the common- 
er species at Bafodia (my records suggest they are evenly blanced) but, just 
as in the south turatii seems to have taken advantage of the changing vegeta- 
tion to push leucorhynchus eastwards during this century, so in the north it 
may possibly be in process of displacing aethiopicus. 

References : 

Bannerman, D. A. 1939. The Birds of Tropical West Africa. Vol. 5. Crown Agents: London. 

Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. British 

Museum (Natural History): London. 
White, C. M. N. 1962. A Revised Check hist of African Shrikes .. .etc. Gov. Printer: 


Address: G. D. Field, Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

45 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Nest description and plumage variation of the 
Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia peruana 

by Michael Gochfeld 

Received 7 November 1978 
Two little known wrens, the Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia peruana and 
the Rufous Wren C. unirufa occur in sub-tropical and temperate Andean 
forests. On 23 September 1972, at the Carpish Pass, Department of Huanuco, 
Peru, Stuart Keith, Dan and Erica Tallman, and I, found a nest of C. peruana 
in very wet cloud forest at about 2700 m a.s.l. It was about 2.5 m above the 
ground, suspended from and partly penetrated by a curving bamboo stem. 

Fig. 1. Diagramatic drawing of nest of Cinnycerthia peruana. 

The nest mass was firmly tethered to the support by fine rootlets. The overall 
size was 20 x 30 cm by 15 cm high. The main pouch containing the nest 
cavity was about 10 x 15 x 15 cm, consisting mainly of rootlets into which 
small strands of green moss were woven. The upper portion of this pouch 
was composed mainly of dried bamboo leaflets. The down-turned tunnel 
had a nearly circular entrance 3 cm in diameter, which was completely en- 
circled by green moss. 

The nest contained a 1 day old naked chick and a pipping egg. The egg's 
ground colour was pale creamy white and it was sparsely speckled with red- 
dish brown, particularly toward the larger end. It measured 21.5 x 11.5 mm. 
Taczanowski (1887) describes a single egg found 26 August 1871 as white 
with few small reddish spots and measuring 21.3 x 11.8 mm. He does not 
mention the nest or young nor other habits. Schonwetter (1971) gives 
measurements of 18. 0x13. 0(1. 55 g) for egg(s) attributed to C. unirufa. 

White head feathering 

We captured and photographed an incubating bird, and this had white 
feathers encircling the eye and on the forecrown. Of the 7 Sepia-brown 
Wrens we saw in a group nearby, 3 had conspicuous white feathers on the 
head, including one with a white forecrown, chin and face. Although known 
to field ornithologists (e.g., J. P. O'Neill, pers. comm.) such individual 
variation with white facial feathering is not treated in the litereature. I 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 46 

therefore examined specimens to ascertain the geographic distribution and 
possible age and sex factors influencing such variation. Of 17 specimens in 
the American Museum of Natural History (A.M.N. H.), 3 of 9 $$ and none 
of 8 $5 had white feathers on the head. This is not a significant difference 
(Fisher Exact Test, p>.io). One was a male from the Carpish Tunnel area, 
with white face and forehead. 

Table i 

Occurrence of white facial feathering in the Sepia-brown Wren Cinnycerthia peruana. 1 

White feathers present 

Location 2 












Carpish Pass 








Carpish Pass 



















Abra Patricia 





Huaylas Pampa 








Other localities 







Other localities 














1 Only specimens of C. p. peruana are included in this table. 
2 See text for locations. 

LSU = Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

AMNH = American Museum of Natural History, New York. 

Through the courtesy of Dr. John P. O'Neill, I examined specimens in the 
Museum of Zoology, Louisiana State University (L.S.U.), Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana (Table 1). Ten specimens from the Carpish included 3 $$ with 
white feathers (a single feather in one case and a completely white face in 
another). Five specimens taken at 2600 m a.s.l. near Yuraccyacu, Department 
of Ayacucho (13 45 ' S, 73 ° 47' W) included a $ and 2 0*6* with some white 
feathers. Ten specimens from Huaylas Pampa (2950 m a.s.l.), Department of 
Loreto, included 3 $$ and 2 $$ with slight to extensive white feathering. 
An apparent family group (5 $$ and 3 $$) from San Jose de Lourde 
(2200 m a.s.l.), Department of Cajamarca, and 8 specimens from Abra 
Patricia (2050 m a.s.l.), Department of San Martin, had no white feathers. 

Of the total of 65 L.S.U. and A.M.N.H. specimens of C. p. peruana, birds 
with some white feathers comprised 10 of 36 0*6* an d 7 of 29 $$, which 
shows no significant intersex difference (Chi Square Test, p>.2o). There is 
as yet no evidence on whether white feathering might be age-related, though 
both immature and adult specimens in the collections show white feathers, 
and the white-faced bird we captured was presumably an incubating adult 
(though it could have been a sub-adult helper). 

Meyer de Schauensee (1970) mentions that one race of peruana, the Bolivian 
bird C. p. fulva, has a broad buffy-white eyebrow, while another, C. p. 
olivascens, from Colombia and Ecuador, often has a buffy white patch on the 
forecrown. I interpret the former as a subspecific character and the latter 
has an intra-racial variation. The intra-population variation which we found 
at the Carpish occurs at several localities in Peru. Another wren, Campylo- 
rhynchus turdinus, has some races with white heads (albobrunneus, harterti) in 
Colombia and Panama, thus showing extreme geographic ( = racial) variation. 

47 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979' 99(2)] 

However, the irregular, intra-population variation in white facial feathering, 
which occurs in the Sepia-brown Wren, is a unique phenomenon in the 
Troglodytidae, and clearly deserves attention. 

References : 

Meyer de Shauensee, R. 1970. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Livingston Publishing 

Co : Wynnewood, Pa. 
Schon wetter, M. 1971. Handbuch der Ooloqie. Part 19. 
Taczanowski, L. 1884. Ornithologie du Perou. Rennes, Vol. 2. 

Address: Dr. M. Gochfeld, Department of Ornithology, American Museum of Natural 
History, New York, NY 10024, U.S.A. Present address: 133 Meadowbrook Drive, 
Princeton, NJ 08540, U.S.A. 

On the possible existence of the New Caledonian 
Wood Rail Tricholimnas lafresnayanus 

by Tony Stokes 

Received 9 December 1978 
The New Caledonian Wood Rail Tricholimnas lafresnayanus was described in 
1 860 and is now known only from 1 3 museum specimens (Fullagar, Disney & 
de Naurois in prep.). The most recent of these date from 1890 and all seem to 
have been secured by local villagers in the south of the island. The only 
record of its habits are observations made of captive birds in the early i88o's 
(Layard & Layardi882). 

It seems however that the species may still exist in very small numbers 
since unauthenticated accounts of captures by local villagers have continued 
to trickle to the ears of naturalists over the past 80 years (e.g. Warner 1947, 
de Naurois pers. comm.). 

According to most authors, the rail is a close relative and congener of the 
Lord Howe Island Woodhen T. sylvestris, which is now reduced to a seemingly 
stable wild population of some 20 individuals atop a rugged peak on Lord 
Howe Island. Though uncertain, Disney (1974a) surmises that the feral 
populations of goats Capra hirtus, pigs Sus scrofa, rats Rattus rattus and cats 
Felis domesticus have contributed to the disappearance of T. sylvestris from the 
lowlands. The pig is the only one which does not at present share the sur- 
viving woodhen's habitat since it has apparently been unable to scale the 

In November 1975, I spent 2 weeks observing the Lord Howe Island 
Woodhen atop Mount Gower and discussing its biology with H. J. de S. 
Disney and Dr Peter Fullagar. I subsequently visited New Caledonia from 
24 November-24 December 1976 to investigate recent reports of the existence 
of lafresnayanus and to conduct a search on the premise that the species' 
ecology would resemble that of sylvestris. 

Though Olson (1973) believes that sylvestris and lafresnayanus should be 
separated generically, Ripley (1977) submerges them into Rallus with the 
comment that they are alike in many respects and may be considered part of a 
superspecies . Greenway (1967) also thought them very similar and Fullagar, 
Disney & de Naurois (in prep.) have retained both in Tricholimnas. Whatever 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 48 

their taxonomy it is not unreasonable to assume they are ecological counter- 
parts. Both are general olive-brown, flightless rails with narrow slightly 
down-curved bills, but lafresnayanus has a slightly longer bill and is a little 
larger than sylvestris, though their diet and foraging behaviour appear similar. 
Disney (1974b) states that sylvestris forage 'by scratching among the ground 
litter, and moving vegetation aside, with their bills; they do not use their 
feet'. They appear to feed on almost any invertebrate as well as the eggs and 
chicks of nesting Providence Petrels Pterodroma solandri (Fullagar & Disney 
1975, Ripley 1977). Warner (1947) speculates that lafresnayanus eats snails, 
worms and foods similar to the Kagu Khynochetos jubatus. In captivity the 
Layards (1882) fed it on 'Bulimi, raw meat, and garbage', items which seem 
little different from the scraps readily taken by sylvestris round Disney's 
(1974b) camp. 

One wonders on what evidence the Layards found lafresnayanus to be 
nocturnal. Perhaps if their birds were only active at night it was an artefact 
of captivity. Though sylvestris is definitely diurnal, its peak activity times are 
the crepuscular hours (pers. obs.) and both Disney (1976) and myself had 
difficulty in locating a sylvestris roosting site in the dense vegetation. Disney 
(1976) also reports that the species moves about at night on some occasions. 

T. lafresnayanus probably lives in similar forest types to sylvestris. By deduc- 
tion, if litter invertebrates are a major dietary component in the food of 
lafresnayanus, as they appear to be for sylvestris (pers. obs., Disney 1974b, 
Fullagar & Disney 1975), then areas with a fast accumulation and breakdown 
of detritus would probably be favoured because they contain more food. 
Soil fauna, indeed, may be of such importance to sylvestris that its reduction, 
as a consequence of a reduction in leaf litter by feral animals, could account 
for the disappearance of the bird from all lowland areas in Lord Howe Island 
(Disney 1974b). 

Though goats are absent from New Caledonia its population of feral 
animals is worse than Lord Howe Island and some species such as pigs, cats, 
rats and Samba Deer Cervus timoriensis are very common. There are also 
reports of feral dogs Canis familiaris, cattle Bos taurus and horses Equus 
cabellus; however, these would exist only in small numbers and, as in the New 
Hebrides (Medway & Marshall 1975), it would be extremely difficult to 
establish the extent to which they are genuinely self-sustaining. In any case 
cattle and horses would have little effect on lafresnayanus in their present 
numbers. Of more concern is the fact that no part of the island is inaccessible 
to pigs (pers. obs., Rossart, Tonnelier, Begaud, pers. comm.). Overall there 
is little accurate knowledge of the distribution pattern and ecology of exotic 
animals and no research has been conducted or is envisaged (Rancurel, pers. 

The Layards state that from native reports lafresnayanus 'appears to inhabit 
much the same localities as the "Kagou" '. In the same paper they say that 
the Kagu's habitat is precipitous ravines in the mountains. My melanesian 
guide pointed to such a ravine while we were camped on the remote head- 
waters of the Ouinne River and said he had heard the Kagu calling there in 
the early morning. Delacour (1966) says that the Kagu inhabits humid rain- 
forest and now, presumably, any remnant lafresnayanus would also be restricted 
to that habitat. Three recent reports support this view. 

There have been 3 post- 194 5 reports of the existence of lafresnayanus. 

49 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

1. The Warner Report 

In 1947 Warner reported that: 
* Several Frenchmen who had lived for more than sixty years in the vicinity 
of Mount Mou assured me that the rail is still present in the in accessible glens 
of the mountain forests on the backside of Mount Mou and beyond it in 
the interior Mount Humboldt region. They called it the "Cocque de Bruyere" 
and described it accurately. A local resident informed Macmillan that he had 
captured one with the aid of a dog on Mount Panie only three weeks before. 
I received several such reports from various parts of the island including 
Bourail, La Foa, Canala and the priests and natives at the St. Louis Mission. 
Some were vague ; but others gave such vivid descriptions of the bird and 
the capture that I was forced to believe a few birds were still alive.' 

A local ornithologist (Th. Tonnelier, pers. comm.) comments that this 
report is very misleading because the reference to the vernacular name is 
misspelt and the people who used it may have been referring to the New 
Caledonian Grassbird Megalurulus mariei. The correct spelling is 'Coq de 
Bruyere' which translates as 'Cock of the heather'. This vocal and common 
bird is more likely to be seen in heather-type country than lafresnayanus but 
though the colouration is similar it is a much smaller bird and flies readily. 

When I interviewed some old men of Col de la Piroque, at the foot of 
Mount Mou, and showed them a photograph of the coloured painting in 
Brenchley's (1873) book they said they knew of the wood rail but had not 
seen it on Mount Mou for more than 60 years and the dogs had probably 
exterminated it. If these are accurate reflections then the last sightings on 
Mount Mou would have been at the turn of the century. No thick forest now 
exists on or near the mountain as a suitable refuge for lafresnayanus. 

2. The Henwood 'Report 

In the north of the island the rail is known to Jack Henwood and his son, 
fishermen of Tao, a tiny village at the foot of Mount Panie. Mr Henwood was 
a collector for L. Macmillan, an assiduous biologist from the American 
Museum of Natural History, who lived in Tao for a month in 1936. Un- 
fortunately his notes were not published though they have been referred to 
extensively by later authors (e.g. Warner 1947, Delacour 1966, Vuilleumier & 
Gochfeld 1976). 

Mr Henwood (pers. comm.) has not heard of lafresnayanus in the region for 
many years. However his son told me that he had caught one on the 
southern ridge of the Ouieme River near its mouth about 1 5 years previously, 
that is 1 96 1. The river drains the western slopes of Mount Panie-Mount 
Colnett and he marked the spot on a 1/50,000 map (Fig. 1). He recognised the 
bird from Sandford's drawing in Delacour (1966). 

3 . The Rossart Report 

Professor R. de Naurois in 1971 (pers. comm.) located a Mr Rossart who 
made a 'very precise' report to him that: T. lafresnayanus had been killed six 
years before, north of Mount Panie near the edge of the dense forest'. 

Ripley (1977) also quotes de Naurois in giving the species status as 'very 
rare' and, incidentally, misquotes Delacour (1966) in listing an observation 
of the bird as 1 9 5 6 instead of 1 9 3 6 . 

On 26 November 1976 I spoke with Mr Rossart through an interpreter for 
45 minutes and he marked a spot on a 1/200,000 map of the island where he 

(areas searched are shown in italics) 


Figure 2. 



Rossart s mark 

= Area covered in Dec. 
1976 search 

—B Rivers 

Creek Channels 

Ff] Swampland 

m/A Humid Forest 
YM boundary 

• Altitude readings 

Approximate scale 

5 1 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

said the natives who procured it had brought it to him. A surveyor by- 
profession he has an extensive knowledge of the island's interior and his 
mark is on the southern ridge of the headwaters of the Riviere Blanche valley 
in the south of the island (Figs. 1 and 2). The reason for the wide discrepancy 
between this locality and that of de Naurois' account is not known. 

According to Rossart the natives had caught the bird with a dog and 
brought it to him alive in June or July 1966. Since he had not seen one before 
he took some interest in it and later it was eaten by natives. He had recently 
been unable to find the natives soncerned since they had moved from their 

In a comparison of Sandford's drawing, in Delacour (1966), and Benchley's 
(1873) painting he preferred the former saying that the bird was more 
reddish-brown on the breast not blue-grey, as in the painting, and the breast 
was also 'more hairy' than the painting. Certainly the Sandford drawing 
resembles the posture of sylvestris more than the painting does. Disney has 
examined all but two of the known specimens of Iafresnayanus and comments 
(pers. comm.) that 'Mr Rossart is probably right on the description of the bird 
as I consider the photo of the coloured plate (Brenchley) is that of an adult 
bird and few adult birds have been collected. I think feathering in the young 
birds is more "loose" and "hair like" '. 

My search for Iafresnayanus was confined to areas of thick humid rainforest 
and rugged topography similar to where the relict sylvestris population 
survives. I also used information from the 3 most recent reports of Iafres- 
nayanus and mapped suitable habitat from an aerial reconnaisance of the island. 
Unfortunately only one area in the north and 2 in the south of the island were 
visited (Fig. 1). However other possibly suitable areas are listed in Table 1 
and shown in Figure 1 . 

Table i 

Some areas possibly containing remnant T. Iafresnayanus on New Caledonia. 

(Areas 1-3 were visited in 1976) 

i. Western slopes and ridges of Mount Panie-Mount Colnett and the Ouieme River. 

2. Ouinne River headwaters. 

3. Riviere Bleue, Riviere Blanche and Mois de Mai region. 

4. Behind Tipindje in the Foret de Neaba between Pouailatimbe (les Levres) and Mount 
Cantaloupa - perhaps the western faces of Pouailatimbe and Tonine. 

5 . The eastern face of Sommet Arago. 

6. The western slopes of Kobe Hara falling into the Riviere de Nou. 

7. The southwestern face of Areha falling into the Kouaoua tributary. 

8. The slopes surrounding Aoupinie. 

9. The wide area covering the slopes of Mount Humboldt, Pic Comboui and Massif du 
Kouakoue, especially precipitous areas. 

Ground searches were made in the morning and evening hours at each 
locality. During searches an assortment of the shrill sylvestris calls were 
played at irregular intervals through a portable Sanyo cassette player, model 
M.2541, at maximum amplification. In the thick forest it is doubtful if these 
carried more than 25 m. In case they repelled rather than attracted Iafres- 
nayanus^ occasional silent traverses were also made. 


No evidence of the wood rail was found during the searches and no 
unidentified calls, similar to sylvestris, were heard. Nevertheless the following 
notes from each of the 3 search areas may assist future visitors. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 52 

Mount Panie-Mount Colnett 

The slopes of the 1961 Henwood sighting can be seen from the punt 
crossing the mouth of the Ouieme River. Though I was not able to search 
them they should be readily accessible to a thorough search for, though they 
range from very steep to precipitous, the humid forest occurs only in small 
stream valleys and does not cover a wide area. 

The eastern slopes of Mount Panie are steep enough to make extensive 
coverage of them very difficult and tiring. More importantly much of the 
vegetation consists of very thick windswept scrub with stems growing so 
close together as probably to inhibit wood rail foraging. Certainly it is much 
thicker than that in which the Lord Howe Island bird now lives or, pre- 
sumably, used to live. The humid forest on the mountains appear thicker and 
more extensive on the sheltered western slopes than the eastern slopes which 
abut the ocean. On the eastern side this forest has a lower canopy and grows 
only in sheltered pockets. 

Our 4 day search revealed very fresh pig rootings over a wide area of the 
summit and extending into the valleys - even over the precipitous head- 
waters of the Oua Pandieme on the eastern slope. This area harboured a 
greater density of wild pigs than the other 2 visited. There were also many 
recent deer prints and rat and cat faeces on the summit. I received reports 
that the deer live only in the Niaouli Melaleuca leucodendron savannah forest 
but I also saw them in humid forest both on Mount Panie and near the 
Riviere Bleue in the south. This may have a wider implication for the survival 
of lafresnayanus if another report is correct: that wild dogs only follow the 

Ouinne River — Mount Ouin 

The lower altitudes of this long river valley leading from Mount Ouin are 
clothed in humid forest only along the tributaries of the main river. These 
forests coalesce on the higher slopes. The lower ridges and slopes have a 
vegetation complex called 'le maquis des terrains miniers' (Le Borgne 1964) 
or 'the mining land bush'. It has an arid red lateritic soil prone to much water 
erosion due to sparse ground cover, low stunted bushes shrubs and ferns, and 
no herbs. 

There were signs of pigs along the 3 tributary systems searched and my 
guide told me he had shot pigs there. Cat faeces were common and two rats 
were taken each night from 10 traps. There were no signs of deer although my 
guide had hunted them with success in the valley before. The shrill calls of 
the mountain graybird Coracina analis were at first thought to be lafresnayanus 
and it took a day of careful observation to prove that this was not so. It is 
unlikely that the wood rail could survive in the area. 

Riviere Bleue, Riviere Blanche, Mois de Mai 

The streams of these 3 adjoining localities all drain into Yate Lake in 
the southeast of the island. To the north, over a 1 200 m range, is the Ouinne 

The site of the Rossart report (Fig. 2) is in the middle of sparse 'mining land 
terrain' so the bird was probably captured elsewhere and brought to Rossart. 
Only 2 reasonably large areas of humid forest exist in the valley as likely wood 
rail habitat; both are on the northern slopes and the nearest is a 3-4 hour 
walk from Rossart's mark. The forest there is contiguous with the Mois de 

53 [Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99 (z)] 

Mai and only a very cursory one day search was feasible. The vegetation 
appeared sufficiently open and the litter deep enough to permit the bird to 
live, at least along the stream edges. Though there were abundant pig signs 
it still may warrant a thorough search, especially on the more precipitous 
ridges leading up the eastern face of the 768 m high mountain. The second 
area is further west than the first and could not be seen from Rossart's mark. 

The riverine forest on the Mois de Mai and the Riviere Bleue, northeast of 
Rossart's mark, is very thick and difficult to penetrate. It may thin out at 
higher altitudes but it is doubtful that the rail would live on the lower slopes. 

Though all sections of the area had abundant deer, pig, rat and cat signs 
few of the hunters who frequent the Coulee, Thi and Lembi river systems on 
weekends intrude into the reserves along the Rivieres Blanche and Bleue. 


New Caledonia is economically dependent on nickel mining and an 
exploitative mining policy has allowed 4- wheel drive access to most rugged 
areas. Besides creating erosion, the roads allow hunters into the interior and 
hunting is a passion on the island (pers. obs., Warner 1947). It is also 
probably more intense in the south where the most promising areas for the 
wood rail remain and where all extant specimens seem to have been taken 
(Disney, Fullagar, pers. comm.). Little notice is taken of the game laws and 
their enforcement is almost non-existent outside reserves. 

If lafresnayanus is an ecological counterpart of sykestris, then probably a 
reduction in the feral populations of pig and deer would benefit the New 
Caledonian bird. Since hunting dogs are responsible for the capture of the 
rare wood rail reported, another measure for their survival would be the 
widespread adoption of muzzles for the dogs. 

As it is, both Warner (1947) and Ripley (1977) believe the bird is not 
extinct but 'very rare' and the post- 194 5 reports support this view. Though 
the uncompromising New Caledonian terrain may have been the species 
greatest ally in survival, under the present conditions it is almost certain 
that any remaining birds will disappear. Therefore a captive breeding pro- 
gramme should be attempted with any future live specimens. 

In addition, any future search would benefit from a long publicity cam- 
paign to attract recent reports from villagers. This could quickly and 
effectively survey the island and has proved successful in finding rare species 
in the past (Chisholm 1922). 

Acknowledgements: This search would have been impossible without the provision of funds 
by The Australian Museum Trust and without the groundwork laid by Professor de Naurois 
on the island and by my supervisor, the Curator of Birds at The Australian Museum, John 
Disney. I also thank the Disney family for their hospitality while I was in Sydney. In various 
other ways Dr. Peter Fullagar and Walter Boles provided assistance. Whilst on the island I 
found willing friends in Dr. Paul Rancurel of ORSTOM, Fathers Mingam and Riocreux 
and other priests of the Cathedral, Soehadi and Felicity Paul, Sylvie Feles, Helen and Marcel 
Brinon, Jack Hemwood, Remy Le Goff and the Societe Le Nickel, Monsieur Goy and the 
Service des Eaux et Forets,Th.Tonnelier, Colonel Dominique and the French Army. 

References : 

Brenchley, J. L. 1873. Jottings during the Cruise of H. M.S. Curacao among the South Sea Islands 

in 1 86 j. London: G. R. Gray. 
Chisholm, A. H. 1922. The 'lost' Paradise Parrot. Emu 22: 4-17. 
Delacour, J. 1966. Guide des Oiseaux de la Nouvelle-Caledonie. Paris: Delaccha and Niestle. 

[Bull.B.O.C. 1979:99(2)] 54 

Disney, H. J. de S. 1974a. Woodhen. Aust. Nat. Hist. 18: 70-73. 

— 1974b. Survey of the Woodhen. in 'Environmental Survey of Lord Howe Island'. 
Sydney: Lord Howe Island Board. 

— 1976. Report on the Woodhen of Lord Howe Island. Canberra: 
Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. 

Fullagar, P. J. & Disney, H. J. de S. 1975. The Birds of Lord Howe Island: a Report on the 

Rare and Endangered Species. I.C.B.P. Bulletin XII: 187-202. 
Greenway, J. C. 1967. Extinct and Vanishing Birds of the World. New York: Dover. 
Layard, E. L. & Layard, E. L. C. 1882. Notes on the avifauna of New Caledonia, a catologue 

of the birds of the island with remarks by the Rev. Canon Tristram. Ibis (4)6 : 493-546. 
Le Borgne, J. 1964. Geographie de la Nouvelle-Caledonie et Des lies Lqyaute. New Caledonia: 

Ministere de L'Education de la Jeunesse et Des Sports. 
Medway, Lord & Marshall, A. G. 1975. Terrestrial vertebrates of the New Hebrides: 

Origin and distribution. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 272: 423-465. 
Olson, S. L. 1973. A Classification of the Rallidae. Wilson Bull. 85 : 381-416. 
Ripley, S. D. 1977. Rails of the World. Toronto: Feheley. 
Vuilleumier, F. & Gochfeld, M. 1976. Notes sur l'avifaune de Nouvelle-Caledonie. Alauda 

44: 237-273. 
Warner, D. W. 1947. The Ornithology of New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands. Cornell 

Univ. : Ph.D. Thesis. 
Address: T. Stokes, The Australian Museum, 6-8 College Street, Sydney, 2000. Australia. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Notes on the Yellow Tit Varus holsti of Taiwan with 
discovery of its nest 

by W. F. Chang and S. R. Severinghaus 

Received 9 December 1978 
The Yellow Tit Varus holsti is one of 14 species of birds endemic to the 
island of Taiwan (Severinghaus & Blackshaw 1976). It was discovered in 
1894 by Seebohm's Swedish collector A. P. Hoist (Seebohm 1895), and 57 
years later Hachisuka & Udagawa (195 1) wrote that its life history was still 
unknown. This paper presents information which has been gathered about 
the Yellow Tit since 195 1, including the discovery of its nest. 

Discovery of nests. The authors have observed Yellow Tits sporadically in 
the field since 1966, but it was not until 12 May 1976 that Chang found 
the first nest, and the next year 2 more on 1 5 April. As far as we know, these 
nests are the first ones reported. 

The nests were found at 1250 m elevation in the hills of the Experimental 
Forest of National Taiwan University at Chitou, Nantou Co. (23 ° 30 ' N, 120 
30' E). The experimental forest covers 2488 hectares in the foothills of west 
central Taiwan. Two-thirds of this area has been cleared of its original hard- 
wood vegetation and converted to plantations of conifers and bamboo. One- 
third of the area still remains as natural hardwood forest, and it was in these 
tracts of hardwoods that the three nests were found. Nests were not found 
in man-altered habitats. 

The nests. One nest hole was 6 m above the ground in a 1 $ m high Noto- 
phoebe konishi, a large, uncommon hardwood, endemic to mountains in the 
central and southern parts of the island up to 2500 mm (Li 1963; Liu 1970). 
This same site was used in both the 1976 and 1977 breeding seasons, but 
we do not know whether it was occupied by the same pair. Dimensions of 
the nest cavity were as follows: hole diameter 11 cm, cavity depth 23 cm 
(from top of hole to bottom), cavity width 9 cm, depth of nest material 5 cm. 

55 [Bull.B.O.C. 1979:99(2)] 

The other nest hole was 60 m away, 7 • 5 m above the ground in an Actino- 
daphne mushaensis, a common hardwood, endemic to mountain forests in the 
central part of the island (Li 1963 ; Liu 1970). Nest dimensions were not meas- 
ured, but the hole appeared to be slightly smaller than the first. Nest mat- 
erials at both sites were dried leaves (including bamboo leaves), lichens and 
moss, with some feathers in the cavity of the second site. 

Eggs and young. The first nest discovered contained 3 young. On 1 3 May 
1976, Chang observed the hole from 06.00 to 18.00 hours, during which 421 
feeding trips were made to the nest by both parents. Greenish caterpillars 
were among the food items carried in. The young appeared to be 8-10 days 
old, which suggests that laying may have begun about mid- April. The next 
year (1977), Chang found 4 eggs on 15 April in this same nest cavity. One 
egg measured 1 7 mm x 1 2 • 5 mm. Another nest was discovered the same day 
with 3 eggs. The eggs were white with pinkish and brown splotches and 
streaks concentrated at the larger end. Dates of laying for these eggs are not 
known, but Chang observed the parents gathering nesting material on 1 
April. Chang was unable to follow the nesting cycle through to completion 
in either case. 

Specks distribution. The first specimen of the Yellow Tit (a male) was col- 
lected by Hoist on the "outlying spurs" of the Mt. Morrison (Yu Shan) range 
in central Taiwan (Seebohm 1895) and was described by Seebohm (1894). 
LaTouche (Ogilvie-Grant & LaTouche 1907) collected 3 specimens (males 
and females) in January and February 1906 at 6000 ft on the "Racu Racu 
Mts" (probably the range between Tung Pu Hot Springs and Patungkuan 
in Nantou Co.). Moltrecht collected a fifth specimen in the Alishan area 
(Chiayi Co.) in April 1907 (Ogilvie-Grant 1908). In summarizing what was 
known about the Yellow Tit in 1950, Hachisuka & Udagawa (195 1) said that 
it was "confined to about 3,000 m" on Mts. Morrison and Ali (23 30' N, 
120 50' E). 

Our collective field experience indicates that the Yellow Tit is more widely 
distributed in the mountains than the above records suggest. We have seen 
them as far north as Mt. Lala (Taoyuan Co., 24 43 ' N, 121 25 ' E), as far 
south as Mt. Wutou (Pingtung Co., 22 42 ' N, 120 47 ' E), and in the moun- 
tains of the northeast near Ho Ping (Hualien Co., 24 20' N, 121 ° 40' E). 

All our observations of Yellow Tits have been made between 1000 and 
2300 m. Chen & Yen (1973) listed it as low as 800 m (Sun Moon Lake) in 
March. Hachisuka & Udagawa's (195 1) reference to its being confined to 
3000 m is an unaccountable error. 

Habitat. The Yellow Tit appears to prefer primary hardwood forests 
between 1000 and 2300 m. We have seen them occasionally in primary 
mixed forests and in open second growth. We have not seen them in pure 
coniferous forests, which would occur at the 3000 m contour mentioned by 
Hachisuka & Udagawa. 

Behaviour. Yellow Tits travel singly, in pairs, or as members of mixed 
species foraging flocks of babblers, minivets, warblers, flowerpeckers, nut- 
hatches, flycatchers, and other tits. Whereas a mixed flock may have a num- 
ber of Green-backed Tits Varus monticolus, only rarely will there be more than 
two Yellow Tits. Yellow Tits tend to feed and move in the canopy and upper 
understory of the forest. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 56 

Status. The Yellow Tit may never have been common in Taiwan. Today 
it is a rare resident. It appears to be more numerous in the southern half of 
■ he island than in the northern half, and in the western half of the mountains 
than the eastern half. 

Their scarcity appears to be partly related to the scarcity of their preferred 
habitat, the primary hardwood forests which are disappearing under forestry 
practices (Schultz 1970). The Yellow Tit is one of several passerines in Tai- 
wan whose future may depend on the preservation of tracts of virgin hard- 
wood forests. 

The endemic Yellow Tit may also be facing competition from its sympatric 
and more numerous congener the Green-backed Tit. These 2 species are 
ecologically and behaviourally similar, and they may compete for both food 
and nest sites. The Green-backed Tit appears to be less specialized than the 
Yellow Tit and may, therefore, have a competitive advantage. 

Acknowledgements: The recent field data reported in this paper have resulted from work 
done under 3 projects: the Migratory Animal Pathological Survey, the Taiwan Pheasant 
Project, and the Ecological Survey of Forest Avifauna in Taiwan. We therefore extend 
collective thanks to all supporters for their contributions with the note that each has been 
individually cited in other publications. Professor Wang Chung-kuei kindly assisted in the 
identification of plants. 

References : 

Chen, P. H. & Yen, C. W. 1973. Ecological survey of the forest avifauna in Taiwan. 

Annual Report 1973. 37 pp. Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan. 
Hachisuka, M. & Udagawa, T. 195 1. Contributions to the ornithology of Formosa, Part II. 

Quar.J. Taiwan Mus. 4(1 & 2): 1-180. 
Li, H. L. 1963. Woody Flora of Taiwan. Livingston Publishing Co: Narberth, Pa. 
Liu, Y. C. 1970. Colored illustrations of important trees in Taiwan. Taiwan Provincial Chung 

Hsing University: Taichung, Taiwan. 
Ogilvie-Grant, W. R. 1908. Additional notes on the birds of Formosa. Ibis. (9)2: 600-608. 
Ogilvie-Grant, W. R. & LaTouche, J. D. D. 1907. On the birds of the island of Formosa. 

Ibis. 1907: 1 51-198. 
Schultz, R. D. 1970. Forest and forest industries development, Taiwan, Rep. of China. 

United Nations Development Program and Food and Agriculture Organization Final 

Report (FAO/SF: 84/CHA 21), Rome. 
Seebohm, H. 1894. Two new birds from the interior of Formosa. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 21 : 7. 
— 1895. On some new and little-known species of birds from Formosa. Ibis. 1895: 

Severinghaus, S. R. & Blackshaw, K. T. 1976. A New Guide to the Birds of Taiwan. Mei Ya 

Publications: Taipei. 
Addresses: W. F. Chang, P.O. Box 890, Tunghai University, Taichung, 400, Taiwan. 
S. R. Severinghaus, 411 Mitchell Street, Ithaca, New York, 14850, U.S.A. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Black Kites Milvus migrans in Sumatra 
by D. R. Wells 

Received 9 December 1978 
Black Kites Milvus migrans, assumed to be of exclusively northern origin, now 
winter annually in the Malay Peninsula though numbers decline sharply 
south at least of 8° N. From field sightings Medway & Wells (1976) were 
able to provide slight evidence that occasional migrants cross to Indonesia. 
At the time we were unaware of a definite record but going over long-stored 
notes I find that on 13 and 14 April 1961 I saw single M. migrans (possibly 
the same individual) feeding with Brahminy Kites Haliastur Indus at the mouth 

57 [Bull.B.O.C. i 979 : 99(2)] 

of the Belawan river, northeast Sumatra (03 ° 45 ' N, 98 ° 40' E). They were 
larger than Haliastur with proportionately longer and shallow furcated tail, 
blackish brown with pale mottling on the head, venter and lower wing- 
coverts, and with a prominent white basal patch on the underside of the 

Though overlooked by all recent authors, Medway & Wells included, 
the British Museum (Natural History) possesses a nineteenth century 
specimen (reg. no. marked Sumatra. From label data I have 
assumed it to be the skin referred to M. govinda by Wardlaw Ramsay (1880) 
in a review of Sumatran material sent to the Marquis of Tweeddale by the 
Swedish explorer Carl Bock. It is an unsexed immature and on wing-length 
(456 mm maximum chord) falls actually within the zone of overlap of this 
northern tropical subspecies M. m. govinda with the eastern Palaearctic 
M. m. lineatus (Brown & Amadon 1968). The width of its pale ventral 
streaks, typically narrow in govinda, is also intermediate but a large white 
patch on the primaries like that of the Belawan bird(s) is suggestive of 
lineatus. Date and locality are not recorded, but according to Wardlaw Ramsay, 
Bock made his collection between August 1878 and January 1879 m tne 
Padang region of western Sumatra. Bock (1882) himself mentions M. 
govinda in an appendix entitled 'List of birds collected in the highlands of the 
West Coast of Sumatra'. This appendix admittedly includes one or two 
normally lowland species, but Padang town, Bock's point of entry into West 
Coast province, is on its narrow coastal plain and he very probably took a 
few birds during journeys to or from the interior. It is reasonable therefore 
to accept this specimen as extending the known range of northern Black 
Kites in the Sunda region south to the equator. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank Dr. G. F. Mees for drawing my attention to the older 
references and for checking Indonesian material at the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke 
Historie, Leiden. 
References : 

Bock, C. 1882. The head-hunters of Borneo. Sampson Low: London. 

Brown, L. H. & Amadon, D. 1968. Hawks, Eagles and Falcons of the World. Hamlyn: London. 
Medway, Lord & Wells, D. R. 1976. The Birds of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. 5. H. F. & G. 

Witherby: London. 
Wardlaw Ramsay, R. G. 1880. Contributions to the ornithology of Sumatra. Report on a 

collection from the neighbourhood of Padang. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond.: 13-16. 
Address: Dr. D. R. Wells, Zoology Department, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 

22-11, Malaysia. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

The genus Criniger (Pycnonotidae) in Africa 

by G. D. Field 

Received 12 December 19/8 
The bearded bulbuls Criniger of the forests of west and equatorial Africa 
cause some difficulty to the taxonomist. There are 3 certain species : olivaceus, 
ranging from Sierra Leone to Ghana; barbatus, from Sierra Leone to the 
eastern Congo ; and calurus from Guinea Bissau to Uganda. In the west there 
is no problem: olivaceus has a bright yellow throat and olive underparts, bar- 
batus a pale yellow throat, greyish underparts, calurus a white throat and yel- 
low underparts. In the east complications arise : the forms of barbatus from 

[Bull. B.O.C. j 979 : 99(2)] 5 8 

Cameroon eastwards, the chloronotus group, have white instead of yellow 
throats, and Hall & Moreau (1970) "regard them as incipient species". Nor- 
mal C. calurus extends over the whole area, but from Nigeria eastwards a bird 
virtually indistinguishable in appearance but with a finer bill occurs, ndus- 
sumensis, variously regarded as a race of calurus (Chapin 1948), a full species 
(Hall & Moreau 1970) "which may hybridise occasionally with it [calurus'] 
in the eastern Congo", or a race of olivaceus (White 1956). This last view is 
followed by Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1973) who complicate the issue with 
the following sentence: "they [C. olivaceus ndussumensis and C. calurus emini] 
are, in fact, sibling species, only to be definitely known apart by the strength 
of the bill, if indeed they really are distinct species". 

Chapin (1953) claimed that there was no distinction in habits and voice 
between C. calurus emini of most of the Congo and C. c. ndussumensis which 
he restricted to the Semliki valley and environs on the strength of the more 
rufous tails of the population there. However, as he did not appreciate that 
bill size was the only constant character dividing the two forms, he may not 
always have realised which form he was observing, and he remarks signifi- 
cantly that C. c. emini "at times was watched climbing with unexpected persis- 
tence on the bark of trees". 

The key to the position of ndussumensis must lie in its behaviour. If it is 
specifically distinct from calurus, it will not sound and behave in exactly the 
same manner. My purpose here is to describe the behaviour of C. olivaceus 
in comparison with that of the other Criniger species in the hope that light 
may thus be shed on the eastern bird. 

C. olivaceus is very rare in collections but is, in fact, moderately common 
in the most easterly primary forest in Sierra Leone where it is sympatric with 
the two larger, commoner, and more widespread species. Here there can be 
no possibility of confusion with calurus, throat colour being quite different. 
There can be momentary confusion with barbatus in the gloom of the forest 
where size is an unreliable guide, but the throat of olivaceus is a much brighter 
yellow and the underparts olive yellow instead of the darker, greyish olive 
of barbatus. 

In Sierra Leone both barbatus and calurus are noisy and obtrusive members 
of the bird armies, though barbatus may also be found on its own. Their 
ringing cries, some of them difficult to differentiate, are often the first indica- 
tion of the presence of these armies. Both inhabit the mid-interior of the 
forest from shrub layer to lower canopy, barbatus tending to keep lower than 
calurus. Both are mainly insectivorous but have been seen eating unidenti- 
fied liane berries and Musanga fruit. Food is taken after a flight, the com- 
monest technique being to seize prey off the leaves in flutter flight, and the 
same method is used with berries. 

The behaviour of olivaceus is totally different. It is usually, though not 
always, with the bird armies, a silent bird, the only known calls being undis- 
tinguished little "chups". It is wholly insectivorous and food is obtained by 
searching the trunks and branches of trees, the birds clinging in an almost 
nuthatch-like manner, peering into crevices and even investigating the under- 
sides of branches, thus more nearly approaching the Phyllastrephus mode of 
hunting than that of other Criniger species. Altitudinally, they range from 
stumps to the upper branches of trees, higher than is normal for the other 

59 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

species. Any 'bearded bulbul' behaving in this manner can here at once be 
identified as olivaceus. 

It remains for field studies to be made of ndussumensis in Nigeria or else- 
where. But I suspect that White will be found to have been right in making 
it a race of (or, if we prefer, a member of a superspecies with) olivaceus. Just 
as the yellow-throated barbatus of Upper Guinea gives place to a white- 
throated form, so the yellow- throated olivaceus gives place to a white- throated 
form, and Chapin's observations on behaviour take on an added significance 
once the behaviour of olivaceus is known. If this is so, field identification 
should be possible throughout the species' range. 

References : 

Chapin, J. P. 1948. Auk 65 : 444. 

— 1953. The Birds of the Belgian Congo. Pt. 3. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 7 5 A. 
Hall, B.P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. Brit. 

Mus. (Nat. Hist.) : London. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1973. Birds of West Central and Western Africa. 

Vol. 2. Longmans: London. 
White, C. M. N. 1956. Notes on the systematics of African bulbuls. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 76: 

Address: G. D. Field, Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

Notes on sexual dimorphism and the nest of the 

Greenish Puffleg Haplophaedia aureliae caucensis 

by Karl-L. Schuchmann 

Received ij December 1978 
The Greenish Puffleg Haplophaedia aureliae occurs in the subtropical zone from 
eastern Panama south to northern Bolivia (Meyer de Schauensee 1970). In 
the western Andes of southern Colombia H. a. caucensis is abundant in 
primary and secondary forests where it feeds and nests along trails and small 
rivers. It seldom leaves the dense vegetation or feeds at levels higher than 
3 m (Schuchmann 1977). The hummingbirds of the Cauca Valley and the 
western Andes near Cali were the subject of a trapping programme in July/ 
August 1976 and in January/February 1977. Data were collected on 10 indi- 
viduals of the Greenish Puffleg trapped at km 1 5 on the road Cali to Buena- 
ventura at an elevation of 2100 m. 

No significant sexual differences in measurements could be found (Table 
1). The oft-cited criterion of a more deeply forked tail in males (Zimmer 195 1) 
could not be corroborated by examination of 4 specimens sexed by dissection. 

Table i 
Mensural and weight characteristics of the Greenish Puffleg Haplophaedia aureliae caucensis. 








Wing (mm) 













Tail (mm) 













Bill (mm) 













Weight (g) 





6.0- 4.9 






5.1- 4.7 


Values of males and females were not significantly different at a probability level of 5 % 
(Mann- Whitney U-test, Sokal & Rohlf 1969). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 60 

The only obvious sexual difference was a rufous-coloured patch on the outer 
side of the white tibial tufts in adult males (wholly lacking in females). 
Immature males have less pronounced tibial tufts with greyish dots. Hartert 
(1900) reported a similar sexual difference in the nominate race, but stated 
that the characteristic rufous patch of males is localized on the inner side of 
the tufts. Unfortunately, no comparable mensural characteristics are available 
from living specimens of H. a. aureliae. However, the wing length of 17 
Senckenberg Museum skins are in close agreement with the range of wing 
measurements listed here for H. a. caucensis. Therefore, the position of the 
tibial colour patch in males is apparently the only obvious difference between 
the subspecies. 

At the beginning of August 1976 a nest with one approximately 20-day 
old nestling (age based on my experience with successful breeding results of 
hummingbirds kept at our laboratory) was found along a trail in dense sec- 
ondary forest. It was located 0-4 m above the ground in a hanging position 
attached to the inner side of a fern stem (Fig. 1). The cup-like nest was made 
entirely of moss, bound with a little cobweb, measuring 10 x 6 cm and 3 -5 
cm deep. The cup was lined with fine threads of plant material. 

Nests of a hanging construction have previously been reported for the 
Tooth-billed Hummingbird A.ndrodon aequatorialis, for the hermits Glaucis, 
Threnetes, Phaethornis, Eutoxeres by Ruschi (1965, 1973), Skutch (1964, 1972) 
and for the Blue-fronted Lancebill Dory f era johannae by Snow & Gochfeld 
(1977). Based on the form of the nest, Ruschi (1965) placed the hermit group 
at the end of his revised classification of the Trochilidae. However, this does 
not seem to be a very reliable criterion on which to base a classification in 
that (1) the nest form of many hummingbird species is still unknown, and 
(2) in at least one genus, Doryfera y 2 species have strikingly different nests 
(Snow & Gochfeld 1977). It is more likely that the nest construction depends 
mainly on the ecological adaptations of the species, as proposed by Koepke 
(1972). Accordingly, the hanging nest here reported should be considered to 
reflect the life history and not the phylogeny of the Greenish Puffleg. 

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to C. T. Collins, L. F. Kiff, F. G. Stiles and L. L. Wolf 
for valuable comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. 

References : 

Hartert, E. 1900. Das Tierreich 9. Friedl. & Sohn: Berlin. 

Koepke, M. 1972. Uber die Resistenzformen der Vogelnester in einem begrenzten Gebiet 

des tropischen Regenwaldes in Peru./. Orn. 113: 138-160. 
Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1970. The Birds of South America. Livingston: Pennsylvania. 
Ruschi, A. 1965. A posicao mantida no ninho pelas femeas de beija-flores durante a incuba- 

cao, e durante o aquecimento da prole. Bolm. Mus. Biol. Prof. Mello-Leitao 48 : 1-3. 
Ruschi, A. xy-j^.Beija-F lores. Mus. Prof. Mello-Leitao. R. J. 
Schuchmann, K.-L. 1977. Geschlechtsmerkmale, Lebensraum und brutbiologische Beo- 

bachtungen von Coeligena coeligena ferruginea (Chapman 1917). Senckenbergiana biol. 58: 

Skutch, A. F. 1964. Life histories of hermit hummingbirds. Auk 81: 5-25. 
Skutch, A. F. 1972. Studies of tropical American birds. Publ. Nutt. Ornith. Club, No. 10. 
Snow, B. K. & Gochfeld, M. 1977. Field notes on the nest of the Green-fronted Lancebill 

Doryfera ludoviciae and the Blue-fronted Lancebill Doryf era johannae . Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 

97(4): 121-125. 
Sokal, R. R. & Rohlf, J. F. 1969. Biometry. Freeman & Co: San Francisco. 
Zimmer, J. T. 195 1. Studies of Peruvian birds No. 61. Amer. Mus. Nov. No. 1540. 

Address: K.-L. Schuchmann, Zoological Institute, University of Frankfurt, Siesmayerstr. 70, 
6000 Frankfurt/M., FRG. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 


[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Photo: Schuchmann 

Fig. 1. Nest with a 20-day old nestling of the Greenish Puffleg Hap lopbaedia aureliae caucensis. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 


63 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Sight records of the Sooty Falcon Falco concolor hi Zambia 

by E. H. Penry 

Received 23 February 1979 
According to Dowsett (in Snow 1978), the Sooty Falcon Falco concolor breeds 
in the Libyan desert and the Red Sea area, and winters in Madagascar, 
although there are also records from coastal southeastern Africa for Dec- 
ember to March. From the intervening area the only records are from coastal 
eastern Africa northwestwards to the vicinity of Lake Victoria. The passage 
routes are not properly known. The following is an account of some 
sightings in Zambia. 

On 26 November 1977 at 1800 hrs a falcon was catching termites over a 
road in Kitwe, 12 48 ' S, 28 14' E, outside a petrol station. Since the Euro- 
pean Hobby F. subbuteo had not yet been seen that autumn on southward 
passage over Kitwe, I examined the bird through binoculars to confirm that 
it was that species. It proved to be wholly grey above and below. It was 
hunting termites only 20-30 ft above the road, frequently right above my 
head, so that I was able to study it closely. The cere and orbits were bright 
yellow, feet orange yellow. Termites were caught in the talons, and trans- 
ferred immediately to the beak. The upperside was uniformly grey from head 
to tail, apart from faint areas of dusky brown on the upper wing-coverts, 
and the primaries were darker but not obviously black. Below it was also 
wholly grey apart from indistinct fine dusky streaks on the breast. Against 
the light the under surface of the fanned rectrices appeared as barred with 
black. Such barring was not apparent with the light on the upper surface, 
which appeared plain grey, concolorous with the rump and back. As the bird 
was in moult (a few remiges apparently absent, rectrices with irregular ends), 
it was not possible to determine the shape of the tip of the tail. The wings 
were relatively long even for a falcon, and the whole impression was com- 
patible with my sightings of concolor in Madagascar in November 1976. It 
perched for some 20 seconds in the lower branch of a large tree across the 
road, but I could not get a clear enough view to compare the length of the 
wing with that of the tail. While perched it seemed to be cleaning its talons 
with its beak. It flew off shortly before I left the garage. Within 5 minutes the 
heavily overcast sky burst in a rainstorm. Darkness fell 30 minutes later. 

The species most likely to be confused with concolor is the Grey Kestrel 
F. ardosiaceus, and these two are reputedly difficult to distinguish in the field 
(Brown & Amadon 1968: 792, 823). I do not know the latter in life, but 
my reasons for identifying the bird as concolor are: (1) F. ardosiaceus is resident 
wherever it occurs. It is only known in Zambia by a sight record from the 
extreme northeast (Jones 1974). (2) The date coincides with those of the main 
passage of concolor, and a wanderer to Zambia at this time is not surprising. 
(3) The weather was stormy, and migrant falcons are well known for 
appearing before or after storms. They probably depend on this elemental 
factor for a flush of termites. (4) The bird resembled those I had already seen 
in Madagascar. The long wings are in keeping with concolor. The blackish 
spot below the eye mentioned by Brown & Amadon (1968: 823) was not 
noted, although this character was not looked for (in any case, judging from 
skins, it would not necessarily be conspicuous). The size, although not a reli- 
able character without both species for comparison, was larger than one 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 64 

would expect for ardosiaceus. The wing-shape was definitely "falcon", not 
"kestrel". Behaviour and flight were "falcon"; wing-beats strong and pur- 
poseful, not weak and delicate as in a kestrel. At a distance the appearance 
was dark and hobby-like, not the rather paler grey that might be expected 
of ardosiaceus. (5) There was no "face-pattern", so confusion with the hob- 
bies subbuteo and cuvieri is out of the question, while the red-footed falcons 
vesper tinus and amurensis are well known to me. 

Another sighting of a concolor was obtained on 10 March 1978 at my home 
in Kitwe only 1 km away from the previous one. The time was 1645 hrs, 
and the sky was completely covered in a blanket of cloud. A storm was 
looming up from the southeast. A falcon flew over my head, into the top 
of a 2 5 m high tree in a neighbour's garden. It perched in an upright position 
on a bare branch right at the top of the tree, and my wife and I were able 
to observe it for the next half-hour. During this time it flew off on 4 occa- 
sions for 1-2 minutes before returning to the same perch. It was almost 
identical with the bird seen the previous November. It differed materially 
only in that the wings and tail had all the feathers complete and, probably 
owing to the greater distance from the observer, no streaking on the under- 
side was visible, and no barring on the tail was discerned. The following are 
the main identification points: — (1) The closed wings projected beyond the 
tip of the tail (see Plate). (2) In flight the wings appeared long, and this was 
more noticeable at a distance. (3) The colour was uniform mid-grey, slightly 
lighter on the underside. (4) The cere and orbits were yellow; feet orange. 
(5) The flight was strong and falcon-like. (6) The underside of the wings was 
plain, not barred as in ardosiaceus. (7) The tail appeared slightly rounded when 
closed (cf. Brown & Amadon 1968 : 823). At 171 o hrs, as the first large drops 
of rain fell, the bird flew off in a northwesterly direction, and did not return. 
Over the next 24 hours there was almost continuous rain and a heavily over- 
cast sky, quite unusual for the time of year. 

On 12 March 1978 a long- winged, uniformly coloured falcon was seen near 
Chingola, 12 31 ' S, 27 53 ' E, over farmland and woodland about 5 km 
west of the town at 1030 hrs. In view of the sighting in Kitwe only 2 days 
previously it was identified as a probable concolor. On 28 April 1978 at 1600 
hrs a servant reported that "the bird with two tails" (a reference to the pro- 
jections of the wings beyond the tail, as in the Plate) was back on the tree 
in a neighbour's garden. P. St J. Bowen and I observed it through binoculars 
for 10 minutes, and virtually all the same characters were noted as in the 
observation on 10 March. It is unlikely that this was the same individual. 
The impression was indeed of a slightly smaller bird, with legs more orange. 
On 14 November 1978 at 1400 hrs a falcon flew into the top of the very 
same tree, and I instantly recognised it as being the same species. Observa- 
tion confirmed it as uniformly grey and long-winged, with yellow cere and 
orbits, and orange-yellow legs. It flew out of the tree, to return to the same 
perch at the very top twice before finally departing. Again the weather was 
heavily overcast, and a storm was looming up from the southeast. 

Particular stress must be laid on the relatively short tail of concolor. Brown 
& Amadon (1968 : 823) give only wing-lengths, but (p. 792) give both wing- 
and tail-lengths for ardosiaceus, indicating a wing/tail ratio of c. 1.56. On the 
other hand, using five specimens in the University Museum of Zoology, 
Cambridge (tails 123, 123, 132, 133, 137 mm) in concolor the ratio is as high 

65 [Bull.B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

as c. 2.12. Also, D. A. Turner, who has examined an original of the Plate, 
and knows both species in life {concolor in Madagascar, ardosiaceus in East 
Africa), has assured me that the tail is much too short for an ardosiaceus. 
Furthermore, the habit of returning repeatedly to the same perch is charac- 
teristic of concolor, but not of ardosiaceus. All these Zambian sightings seem 
to be of adults, in view of the general uniformity in colour of plumage 
(Brown & Amadon 1968: 823), although specimens in immature plumage 
are well enough known from the wintering area in Madagascar (there are 4 
such in Cambridge and 2 in the Merseyside County Museum, Liverpool 
which I have examined). The association with a residential area is also worth 
comment. My house in Kitwe is on a hill, with the tall tree in my neighbour's 
garden a prominent feature. In Madagascar in November 1976, concolor was 
in numbers around Tananarive airport, and in Eucalyptus trees in a residential 
area near the town. 

Falco concolor has not previously been recorded from Zambia, although 
Benson et al. (1971) indicate it as of likely occurrence. There are still further 
possible records. D. R. Aspinwall {in lift.) observed a grey falcon at Chama, 
ii° 14 ' S, 33° 1 1 ' E, in December 1 976, and two such at Mkushi, 1 3 ° 38' S, 
29 ° 23 ' E, on 23 or 24 October 1977. Perhaps the species is overlooked owing 
to its similarity to subbuteo at a distance. At any range immature birds could 
easily be confused, and indeed a specimen was originally provisionally identi- 
fied as subbuteo (Clancey 1969). 

Clearly the movements of concolor merit further study. The main wintering 
area is Madagascar. To what extent (if any) it may also winter in coastal 
eastern Africa is uncertain. The 3 such records from southeastern Africa are 
for 13 and 26 December, and 13 March (Clancey 1969), not quite the same 
as "December to March" (Dowsett, in Snow 1978). They might refer merely 
to lost individuals. 

The record from Kitwe for 28 April seems unusually late for a migrant 
falcon, but concolor (and eleonorae) breed after the summer solstice. This lo- 
cality may be near the western periphery of both the northern and southern 
passage routes. The most westerly locality north of the equator, perhaps a 
breeding locality, in Snow (1978: map 118) is at 14 N, 21 ° E, evidently de- 
rived from Salvan (1968: 57). There is no reason to doubt it, since Salvan 
collected a specimen, and also records ardosiaceus. 

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to D. R. Aspinwall, C. W. Benson, R. J. Dowsett and 
D. A. Turner for helpful discussion and critical comments. Mr. Benson also made available 
skins in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge and Dr. M. J. Largen allowed me 
to examine skins at the Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool. I am particularly indebted 
to C. W. Benson for assistance with the final draft. 
References : 
Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. Stuart. 1971. The Birds of 

Zambia. London: Collins. 
Brown, L. & Amadon, D. 1968. Eagles, Hawks and Falcons of the World. London: Country 

Life Books. 
Clancey, P. A. 1969. Falco concolor Temminck in South Africa. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 89: 10-11. 
Jones, B. W. 1974. Sight record of a Grey Kestrel {Falco ardosiaceus) in Sumbu National 

Vztk.Bull. Zambian Orn. Soc. 6(1): 25. 
Salvan, J. 1968. Contribution a Petude des oiseaux du Tchad (2nd part). UOiseau <& R.F.O. 

Snow, D. W. (Ed.). 1978. An Atlas of Speciation in African Non-passerine Birds. London : 

Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.). 
Address: E. H. Penry, P.O. Box 1900, Kitwe, Zambia. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

\Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 66 

Atlas of speciation in African non-passerine birds — 
Addenda and Corrigenda 

by D. W. Snow 

Received 22 December 1978 

Since the publication of the African non-passerine Atlas, in August 1978, 
a number of errors have been pointed out to me. There will be no oppor- 
tunity to publish a list of Corrigenda in any subsequent volume, as there was 
for the passerine Atlas by Hall & Moreau {Corrigenda for which are given 
on p. 384 of the non-passerine Atlas), and so I am much indebted to the 
Editor for allowing me space to set them out here. It is hoped that in this 
way they will come to the attention of most users of the book, who will be 
able to make the necessary corrections. 

I am especially grateful to Mr. C. W. Benson, who has worked through 
the Atlas in detail and detected many of the items listed below. 
Map 19. Butorides striatus. Occurs throughout the Comoro Islands. 
Map 12. Ixobrychus minutus. Recorded breeding on the Guinea coast at about 

ii° N (Naurois 1969, Mem. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. Paris 56: 208). 
Map 14. Gorsachius leuconotus. Recorded breeding on the Bijagos Is. off the 

Guinea coast at about \\\° N (Naurois 1969, loc. cit.\ 225). 
Map 1 5 . Nycticorax nycticorax. Recorded breeding on the Bijagos Is. (Naurois 

1969, loc. cit.\ 224-229). 
Map 26. Ardea goliath. Recorded breeding on the Bijagos Is. at about n|° N 

(Naurois 1969, loc. cit.\ 225). 
Map 27. Ardea humbloti. Recorded in the Comoros as follows: Moheli 

(Benson i960, Ibis 103b: 32), Mayotte (Forbes-Watson 1969, Atoll Res. 

Bull. 128:9). 
Map 37. Threskiornis aethiopica. Breeds on Aldabra, Indian Ocean. 
Map 5 7. Anas capensis. The record near Ndola, Zambia (1 2 5 8 ' S, 28°39' E), 

is based on a misidentified specimen of A. querquedula (Benson et al. 1970, 

Arnoldia 4(40) : 5). 
Map 66. Torgos tracheliotus . Recorded breeding at the extreme west of the 

range from the Senegal River to the Saloum delta (Morel 1972, Liste 

Com men tee Ois. Senegal et Gambie). 
Map 75. Circus ranivorus superspecies. C. aeruginosus (same form as in Mada- 
gascar) occurs in all 4 Comoro Islands. 
Map 102. Aquila rapax. Delete the 3 breeding records from Malawi, where 

the species is known only as a non-breeder. 
Map 106. Milvus migrans. Breeds on both S. Tome and Principe (Naurois, 

in litt.) in the Gulf of Guinea. 
Map 115. Falco cuvierii. Delete the 2 registrations south of Lake Malawi (based 

on misidentified specimens). 
Map 116. Falco chicquera. Delete the 2 Madagascar registrations (cartographic 

Map 122. Francolinus squamatus species-group. Delete the registration just 

south of io° S, west of Lake Malawi (cartographic error). 
Map 130. Coturnix cotumix, line 8 of text. Palaearctic migrants do not go 

south of the Equator (Benson & Irwin 1966, Arnoldia 2(13)). 

67 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Map 137. Guttera edouardi superspecies. Delete the registration for G. 
edouardi on Mt. Kilimanjaro (cartographic error). 

Map 138. Numida meleagris. Madagascar records of mitrata almost certainly 
represent introductions. The species has also been introduced into the 

Map 149. Rallus caerulescens. Record from S. Tome, Gulf of Guinea, probably 
acceptable (Bannerman 193 1, Bds Trop. W. Africa 2: 10; specimen des- 
troyed); the species has now been recorded from Cameroun (J. Parrott, 
in litt.). I have been unable to find the authority for the occurrence of 
the species in Sierra Leone (Praed & Grant 1970, Bds W.C. <& W. Africa). 

Map 162. Balearica pavonina. Recorded breeding at about n° N on the 
Guinea coast (Naurois 1969, loc. cit.\ 209). 

Map 177. Vanellus crassirostris. All the points have been swivelled anti- 
clockwise with a centre of rotation near the southern extreme of the 
range. The 2 northernmost points should lie astride the southern part 
of Lake Chad, the easternmost point should be near the mouth of the 
Tana River, and the southernmost should be at about 28 ° S, just inland 
from the Natal coast. 

Map 182. Vanellus coronatus, V. superciliosus. The symbol at Kasaji (c io|° S, 
23!° E) refers to superciliosus and should be a black triangle. 

Map 2ii. Columba guinea. Delete the registration at about 12 S, 29 ° E, and 
the 2 at about n° S, just east of Lake Malawi. 

Map 212. Columba arquatrix species-group. Delete the registration at about 
1 1 ° S, near the source of the Zambezi (corrected to Rugege, Rwanda, 
by Schouteden 1971, Doc. Zool. 17: 75). 

Map 222. Aplopelia larvata. Delete the registration at abo»at 1 5 ° S, north of 
Lake Kariba. 

Map 228. Treron calva superspecies. An endemic race of T. calva occurs on 
Principe in the Gulf of Guinea (Amadon 1953, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. 
Hist. 100: 411). 

Map 233. Psittacula krameri. Delete the 2 records in Somalia — one (Berbera) 
based on presumably captive or introduced specimen, the other on con- 
fusion of place name. 

Map 263. Otus leucotis. Map 266. Bubo africanus. Map 268. Bubo lacteus. All 
three species occur in Senegal north at least to Richard-Toll, c. i6|° N 
(Morel 1972, loc. cit.). 

Map 287. Macrodipteryx longipennis species-group. The 2 records of longipennis 
in southwest Tanzania are based on misidentified specimens oivexillarius 
(Dowsett & Stjernstedt 1973, Puku 7: 114). 

Map 291. Neafrapus boehmi, N. cassini. Delete the registration for N. boehmi 
on Mt. Elgon (cartographic error). 

Map 299. Text. Delete superscript 3 in last line. 

Map 303. Ceryle maxima superspecies, line 14 of text. For "torquata" read 

Map 305. Alcedo semitorquata superspeices, etc. The symbols for semitorquata 
and quadribrachys are transposed in the map caption. 

Map 318. Merops breweri. Recorded from the Afram River, Ghana (Banner- 
man 1953, Bds W. <& Equ. Africa 1 : 679). 

Map 327. Coracias spatulata. Delete registrations at c 4 S, 20 E and 22 ° S, 
21 ° E (cartographic errors). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 68 

Map 345. Lybius minor, L. melanopterus. Delete the registration of minor at c 

1 4 S, 31 E, east of the Luangwa River (in fact at Mbala, formerly 

Abercorn, cf. Benson et al. 1971, Bds Zambia: 379). 
Map 356. Pogoniulus olivaceus. There is an additional record of woodwardi from 

Nchingidi at about io° S in coastal Tanzania (Peters & Loveridge 1942, 

Bull. Mus. Comp. Zoo I. 89: 241). 
Map 359. Pogoniulus pusillus superspecies. The symbols for pusillus and chryso- 

conus are transposed in the map caption. 
Map 361. Column 2, line 10 of text. For "subsulphureus" read "chrysoconus". 
Page 380. Add footnote reference as follows: Map 99. 1. Martin & Martin 

1976, Bokmakierie 28: 70-72. 
Page 381. Add footnote references as follows : 

Map 183. 1. Wolters, he. cit. 

2. Dowsett 1977, Scopus 1 : 73-78. 

3 . Clancey 1 964, Bds Natal <& Zululand: 156-157. 

4. Sessions 1975, Bull. E.A.N.H.S., April: 46. 

5 . Praed & Grant 1970, Bds W.C. & W. Africa 1:257. 
Map 240. 1. Clancey 1973, Durban Mus. Novit. 10: 1-11. 

Page 383. Map 377. Alter reference 4 to : Benson 1952, Ostrich 23 : 152. 
Address: Dr. D. W. Snow, British Museum (Natural History), Tring, Herts. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Some additional observations on haematozoa of 
birds in the Mascarene Islands 

M. A. Peirce 

Received 4 January 1979 
The results of the 1974 survey of haematozoa of birds in the Mascarene 
Islands (Peirce etal. 1977) indicated the need for more material, especially from 
Rodrigues where only a small sample had been obtained. 

Recently, it has been possible to examine a small number of blood smears 
from sea-birds on Round Island taken by the Edinburgh University Expedi- 
tion during August 1978, and a larger sample from Rodrigues and Mauritius 
by A. S. Cheke in September 1978, the results of which are reported here. 
Data on localities and details of the preparation, staining and subsequent 
examination of blood smears are given in Peirce et al. (1977), the only 
exception being that from sea-birds blood was drawn from the tibial vein. 


A total of 69 birds was examined (Table 1) of which 16 were found to 
harbour haematozoa. No parasites were seen in any of the birds from Round 
Island. From Solitude, on Rodrigues, 12 birds (27.9%) were observed to be 
parasitized with Leucocyto^oon or Plasmodium. The Leucocyto^oon parasites in 
Foudia flavicans, F. madagascariensis and Passer domesticus were of low para- 
sitaemias but thought to be L.fringillinarum. 

The Plasmodium parasites were particularly interesting. None of the birds 
had a high level of parasitaemia and most parasites seen were trophozoites or 
schizonts, all of which were considered to represent one species only. In the 
erythrocyte the parasite usually occupies a polar position although some are 


69 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Table i 

Blood parasites of birds on Rodrigues, Mauritius and Round Island 

(August-September 1978) 

No. examined/ Parasites found 

Bird species 

No. infec 



Barred Ground Dove Geopelia striata 



Madagascar Fody Foudia madagascariensis 


Rodrigues VodyF.flavicans 


House Sparrow Passer domesticus 

1 1/5 



Barred Ground Dove G. striata 



Mascarene Grey White-eye Zosterops borbonica mauritiana 


Mauritius Olive White-eye Z. chloronothos 



Madagascar Fody F. madagascariensis 




Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus 


Trinidade Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana 



White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus 


Red-tailed Tropicbird P. rubricauda 




L = Leucocyto^pon 

P = Plasmodium 

lateral ; the host cell nucleus is frequently displaced, either to the periphery of 
the cell or rotated through 90 ; schizonts are irregular in shape (one seen as a 
horse-shoe), fairly small with 4 large merozoites; the pigment granules are 
round, usually 3 (range 2-5), one usually larger than the others, clumped 
together peripherally; gametocytes are scanty but appear round or slightly 
irregular (too few for proper designation). The identity and status of this 
species is still undetermined. 

One P. domesticus had a mixed infection with L. fringillinarum and Plas- 
modium sp. 

All 3 Zosterops borbonica and one Z. chloronothos from Alexandra Falls, on 
Mauritius, were infected with L. ^osteropis. 

In addition to the data given in Table 1 , 2 birds, both F. flavicans, were found 
to be parasitized with a Rickettsia-like organism similar to that observed 
in other birds in 1974. One of the birds was a re-trap from 1974 when no 
infection was detected. 


The sample from Rodrigues was larger than before (43 :i6) and there were 
some differences in the parasites observed, particularly the absence of 
trypanosomes. These were found in a single F. madagascariensis in December 
1974, whereas at that time no plasmodia were seen. These differences may 
reflect seasonal fluctuations in patency corresponding to vector activity, or 
merely relapses rather than initial infections; low parasitaemias suggest the 
latter is not the case. 

Although Plasmodium spp. are frequently difficult to identify, even with 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 70 

heavy infections, due to morphological differences within strains of the same 
species, the morphology of the present parasite does not appear to resemble 
any known species, and especially those previously observed on Mauritius 
(P. relictum and P. vaughani). Further work is indicated to elucidate the identity 
and status of this parasite. 

Some species of Leucocyto^oon can also exhibit a variable morphology but 
gametocytes of L. fringillinarum are usually round. Although no such 
gametocytes were seen in any of the large number of Zosterops infected with 
L. ^osteropis examined in 1974, some other passerine species infected with 
jL. fringillinarum did have a few gametocytes more closely resembling L. 
^osteropis. At the time these were considered to be abnormal L,. fringillinarum 
because L. ^osteropis was thought to be restricted to the Zosteropidae. 
However, some gametocytes in the recent material from Rodrigues also show 
a morphological resemblance to L. ^osteropis, even though no Zosterops occur 
on the island. This raises the question as to whether L. ^osteropis can and 
does occur in other species. Observations made on present and past material 
suggest that Zosterops are immune to L. fringillinarum whereas other passerine 
species may be susceptible to infection with L. ^osteropis. The work of Bennett 
& Cameron (1975), who showed that mixed infections of L. fringillinarum, 
L. dubreuili and L. majoris are possible, does give some validity to the possi- 
bility of a similar situation occurring in the Mascarenes. Those species of 
Leucocyto^oon whose vectors are known are, with one exception, transmitted 
by simuliids, and in Mauritius and Reunion only one species is known, 
Simulium ruficorne (Peirce et al. 1977). A. M. Hutson (British Museum (Natural 
History) per s. comm.) confirms that S. ruficorne also is the only species known 
from Rodrigues, but adds that recent material collected in Reunion suggests 
that a second species may be present. Therefore, it seems likely that S. 
ruficorne is the vector of all three species of Leucocyto^oon known to occur in 
the Mascarenes (L. fringillinarum, L. marchouxi and L. ^osteropis), at least on 
Mauritius and Rodrigues. Further, it is possible that in areas inhabited by 
several bird species, some vectors may be harbouring development of more 
than one species of Leucocyto^oon. Thus in biting a new host a vector could 
transmit sporozoites of more than one species, which would account for the 
apparent infection of some ploceids with L. poster opis. It can bs postulated 
that probably since the Zosterops are endemic species, L,. ^osteropis has evolved 
in this genus. Other avian species introduced into the Mascarenes probably 
brought infections such as L. fringillinarum and L. marchouxi with them, and 
the single simuliid vector has been able to adapt to transmitting both the 
established species (JL. ^osteropis) and those introduced. This would possibly 
explain the low infection rates with Leucocyto^oon in species other than 
Zosterops, since an evolutionary pattern is probably still in the process of 
evolving. Since the endemic ploceids exist in relatively small numbers by 
comparison with the Zosterops, probably these have not played any significant 
role in the development of host-parasite- vector relationships. 

This intriguing situation suggests that a more intensive survey is required, 
including collection of data on seasonal activity and transmission studies. 

The negative results from the sea-birds on Round Island are probably due 
to a too small sample rather than an absence of parasites in the population. 
The only previous samples from Indian Ocean sea-birds (Lowery 1971, 
Peirce & Feare 1978) indicate that infection rates are usually low. 

71 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to A. S. Cheke for the material from Rodrigues and 
Mauritius, and to A. S. Gardner for the material from Round Island collected by the 
Edinburgh University Expedition. 

References : 

Bennett, G. F. & Cameron, M. F. 1975. Mixed infections of species of Leucocyto^pon in 

individual birds from Atlantic Canada./. Parasit. 61: 1091-1095. 
Lowery, R. S. 1971. Blood parasites of vertebrates on Aldabra. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. 

B.260: 577-580. 
Peirce, M. A., Cheke, A. S. & Cheke, R. A. 1977. A survey of blood parasites of birds in 

the Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean, with descriptions of two new species and taxo- 

nomic discussion. Ibis. 119: 451-461. 
Peirce, M. A. & Feare, C. J. 1978. Piroplasmosis in the Masked Booby Sula dactylatra 

melanops in the Amirantes, Indian Ocean. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 98: 38-40. 

Address: M. A. Peirce, 6 Barrie House, Hartland Road, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 iJT. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

The Grey Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii in southern Malawi 

by D. B. Hanmer 

Received 18 December 19/8 
Benson & Benson (1977: 188) suggest that Nectarinia veroxii might occur 
very sparsely in the lower Shire valley in Malawi and draw attention to its 
occurrence in the lower Zambezi valley (see also Clancey 1971: 109). This 
has now been confirmed, since on 9 November 1978 at Nchalo, 16 16' S, 
34 55 ' E, I netted (and after study released) a sunbird unquestionably of 
this species. 

Description : Upperparts, from head to upper tail-coverts, and upper wing- 
coverts, dark grey (head slightly darker) with pale bluish green metallic 
sheen. Sides of head lighter grey, shading into pale grey on underparts as 
a whole (slight tinge of yellowish on lower abdomen and under tail-coverts). 
Under wing-coverts white. Flash on each side of chest red, with two yellow 
feathers on each side. Remiges and rectrices brownish grey, with bluish sheen 
on upper surface. Eye dark brown. Bill fairly well curved, black, with a bright 
orange swelling on each side at base; feet black. 

Measurements and weight: Wing 55, tail 39, culmen from skull 21, tarsus 16 
mm. Weight 9 • 1 g. 

The bird was evidently immature, as indicated by the swellings at the base 
of the bill and the tinge of yellowish on the lower abdomen (Mackworth- 
Praed & Grant 1963 : 505 write of the young bird being washed with yel- 
lowish below). Also, it was in heavy body moult, the metallic feathers not 
fully grown. 

It can be safely assumed that the subspecies at Nchalo is N. v. fischeri, and 
that this particular individual, wing 5 5 mm, was a female (see for example 
Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1963), White (1963 : 81), Clancey (1971 : 109) ). 
Again for example, for the nominate form Mackworth-Praed & Grant give 
wing 62-68 mm in the male, 5 6-60 mm in the female, as against fischeri respec- 
tively 61-63, 5 5~5^ mm - The pectoral flashes are usually described as red (as 
by Clancey 1964: 434). However, Mackworth-Praed & Grant describe them 
as red and yellow, so that the presence of a little yellow in the Nchalo speci- 
men is not surprising. Furthermore, of 42 specimens of the species as a whole 
in the British Museum (Natural History), the Bensons (pers. comm.) found 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 72 

a single wholly yellow feather in each of 19. Also, in about half of the 42, 
yellow was hidden at the base of the odd red feather. 

The bird was caught in dry grassland with leafless scrub, adjoining (with- 
in 10 m) a hedge of thicket around my vegetable garden. Two had been seen 
at the same spot in the previous fortnight. The same bird was recaught on 
23 November 1978 in ihicket 300 m from the place of first capture and 
weighed 8 • 9 g. Body plumage was still in heavy moult with the metallic 
feathers not fully grown. I have no other record of the species since taking 
up residence at Nchalo in 1973. Like Apalis ruddi (cf. Hanmer 1979), this may 
be another case of a species driven out of its normal habitat into a housing 
area through bush clearance. 

Acknowledgements: I thank C. W. Benson for assistance in the preparation of this note. 
My work at Nchalo has been assisted by grants from the Frank M. Chapman Memorial 
References : 
Benson, C. W. & Benson, F. M. 1977. The Birds oj Malawi. Limbe: D. W. K. Macpherson 

Clancey, P. A. 1964. The Birds of Natal and Zululand. Edinburgh & London: Oliver & Boyd. 
— 1 97 1. A Handlist of the Birds of Southern Mozambique. Lourenco Marques: Inst. Invest. 

Cient. M05. 
Hanmer, D. B. 1979. An undescribed subspecies of Rudd's Apalis Apalis ruddi {torn southern 

Malawi. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 99: 27-28. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1963. Birds of the Southern Third of Africa, 

Vol. 2. London: Longmans. 
White, C. M. N. 1963. A Revised Check List of African Flycatchers, etc. Lusaka: Dept. of 

Game & Fisheries. 

Address: Mrs. D. B. Hanmer, Sucoma, P/Bag 50, Blantyre, Malawi. 
© British Ornithologist's Club 

A new northern subspecies of the 

Tropical Gnatcatcher Volioptila plumbea 

by Kenneth C. Parkes 

Received 22 fanuary 1979 
The gnatcatchers, genus Polioptila, constitute a New World group of un- 
certain affinities, generally placed as a subfamily of either the Old World 
warblers (Sylviidae) or the enlarged family Muscicapidae, the "Old World 
insect eaters," as in the "Peters" check-list. The genus is primarily tropical, 
with one species (caerulea) widespread in the United States and 2 others 
{melanura and nigriceps) reaching north only to the southwestern U.S., the 
latter having been only recently detected breeding in Arizona (Phillips et al. 
1973). Species limits within the genus are fairly well understood, but there is 
one group of forms from Mexico and Central America for which the early 
literature is hopelessly confused and must be disregarded. The history of this 
confusion was well documented by Phillips (1962) and Phillips et al. (1973) 
and in both of these papers the characters and distribution of the 3 problem 
species nigriceps, albilora, and plumbea are presented along with keys for their 

The most widely distributed species in the genus is the Tropical Gnat- 
catcher P. plumbea with a range extending from southern Mexico to Peru and 
Brazil. The northernmost populations have been confused especially with 

73 [Bull.B.O.C. w 99&1 

P. albiloris, and many collections undoubtedly still contain misidentified and 
mislabelled specimens. After having gone over the material of this group in 
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, it became apparent to me that the 
name Polioptila plumbea superciliaris Lawrence, 1861, currently used for all 
Tropical Gnatcatchers from Mexico through Panama, applied only to the 
southern populations within this range, and that the northern populations 
constitute an unrecognized subspecies. With the help of additional specimens 
examined at the American Museum of Natural History, I was able to work 
out the respective ranges of the 2 races. The type locality of P. p. superciliaris 
is the Atlantic slope of Panama, along the Panama Railroad line. Two other 
names for populations of P. plumbea within the area under discussion have 
been proposed. One is Polioptila superciliaris magna Ridgway, 1903, for which 
the type locality is Cartago, Costa Rica. It was based on a single female, said 
to be "decidely larger (except length of tarsus) than super ciliosa [sic. = 
superciliaris]". Ridgway's own measurements (1904: 728-729) indicate that the 
holotype, with a wing length of 47. 5 mm, exceeded the largest of his series 
of 10 female superciliaris by 3.5 mm, but its tail length of 43 fell well within 
the range of 36.5-49.5 given for superciliaris. The wing of the holotype of 
magna is only o. 5 mm longer than the largest Panama female of superciliaris 
I measured, and females from Costa Rica and Panama had almost identical 
ranges and means of wing length (Costa Rica, 44-47.5 [45.5]; Panama, 44-47 
[45 -25]). Ridgway also considered the holotype of magna to be somewhat 
darker than superciliaris, but his series of the latter was a composite, includ- 
ing the paler subspecies to be described below. The name magna is therefore 
considered to be a synonym of superciliaris. 

Wetmore (1957) described as Polioptila plumbea cinericia the population of 
Isla Coiba, off the coast of Veraguas, Panama. However, he compared it only 
with bilineata, the race of northwestern South America, to which he apparently 
assigned mainland Panama birds. The characters described for cinericia are 
those that differentiate superciliaris from bilineata, and the single Isla Coiba 
specimen I examined was no darker in colour than others from the Panama 
mainland. A larger series from Isla Coiba may show cinericia to be a valid 
race, but this question does not affect the nomenclature of the northern 
population, which may be called : 

Polioptila plumbea brodkorbi subsp. nov. 
Holotype: adult male; Carnegie Museum of Natural History No. 99884; 
Duck Run (also called Benque Ceiba), on the Belize River below (=east of) 
Cayo, western British Honduras (now Belize); 14 April 1926; collected by 
Ernest G. Holt; original number 1069. 

Diagnosis: differs from all races of P. plumbea except P. p. superciliaris 
Lawrence and P. p. bilineata (Bonaparte) in having a white superciliary in the 
male; nearest in colour to bilineata of northwestern South America rather than 
to the adjacent race superciliaris. Both sexes differ from bilineata in having the 
dorsum somewhat purer (less brownish) grey; edgings of remiges greyer 
(less whitish, in this respect agreeing with superciliaris); white more extensive 
on tips of rectrices 4 and 5. Adult females have the crown darker grey, 
slightly glossy, contrasting more with the dorsum than in bilineata. Females 
of bilineata have a black spot at the edge of the crown behind the ear coverts, 
lacking in brodkorbi. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979* 99&\ 74 

From the geographically adjacent superciliaris, both sexes of brodkorbi 
differ in having the underparts pure white (as in bilineata), not washed with 
blue-grey and the dorsum of a more neutral, less bluish grey. Adult males 
and some females in very fresh plumage have a small white spot at the tip 
of the central rectrices (quickly wearing away) ; this spot is lacking in super- 
ciliaris. Adult females have the crown distinctly darker than the dorsum and 
slightly glossy, whereas in superciliaris the crown is dull grey, barely if at all 
darker than the dorsum in well-made specimens. There are no consistent 
measurement differences between brodkorbi and superciliaris, as far as I can 
determine. First year birds (with brownish primary coverts) appear to average 
smaller than adults, and both the rectrices and the primaries of these tiny 
birds are subject to severe wear, which substantially reduces the number of 
accurately measurable individuals in a series. There appears to be at least a 
tendency for higher tail: wing ratios in northern birds; few individuals of 
superciliaris reach or exceed .900 in this ratio, whereas most individuals of 
brodkorbi exceed this figure. 

Range: from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, through the southern 
part of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. 
Intergradation with superciliaris occurs in southwestern Nicaragua and north- 
western Costa Rica. Two females (AMNH) from Los Sabalos, Nicaragua, 
on the San Juan River (which forms the border with Costa Rica) are inter- 
mediate, as are specimens from northern Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. 
The influence of brodkorbi can be traced along the Pacific slope of Costa 
Rica as far as Orotina, about 20 km inland from the eastern shore of the Gulf 
of Nicoya (see map in Slud 1964), as manifested by paler underparts and less 
bluish upperparts than specimens from elsewhere in Costa Rica. Inter- 
gradation on the Atlantic slope must be more abrupt, as the darkest Costa 
Rica specimens seen are those from along the railway line ("Linea Vieja" 
of Skid's map) in Limon Province, northeastern Costa Rica. 

lELtymology: this subspecies is named for Pierce Brodkorb of the University 
of Florida, whose 1944 paper on Polioptila albiloris was one of the first to 
clarify the status of the 3 problematic Central American species of gnatcatcher. 

Specimens examined: brodkorbi - MEXICO: Oaxaca, 24 miles north of Matias Romero, 1. 
BELIZE: Freetown, 2; Duck Run, 1. GUATEMALA: Chimoxan, 3; Finca Chama, 3; 
Secanquim, 2; Vera Paz, 1; unspecified, 2. HONDURAS: San Esteban, 2; Coyoles, 1; 
El Boqueron, 1; Monte Redondo, 1. NICARAGUA: Matagalpa, 2; Chinandega, 1; 
Chontales, 1; Leon, 1; Rio Grande, 1. brodkorbi X superciliaris - NICARAGUA: Los 
Sabalos, 2. COSTA RICA: El Zapotal, 6; Miravalles, 3 ; Bebedero, 2. superciliaris - COST A 
RICA: Boruca, 9; El Hogar, 3; El Pozo de Terraba, 3; Buenos Aires, 2; Carillo, 2; 
Guacimo, 2; Guapiles, 2; Aquiares, 1; Limon, 1; Orotina, 1; Pozo Azul, 1; Tuis, 1; 
Volcan de Osa, 1. PANAMA: Almirante, 6; Paracote, east shore Montijo Bay, 3; Chiri 
qui, 3; Cerro Largo, Cape Mala Peninsula, 1; Cituro, 1; Darien, 1; El Villano, 1; Isla 
Coiba, 1 ; Santa Fe, 1 ; unspecified, 3. bilineata - COLOMBIA: Fundacion, 3; Gamarra, 2; 
Aguachica, 1 ; Bonda, 1. PERU : Cartavia, 1 ; La Laja, 1 (plus series of bilineata at A.M.N.H 
not listed). 

References : 

Brodkorb, P. 1944. The subspecies of the gnatcatcher Polioptila albiloris. J. Washington 

Acad. Sci. 34: 311-316. 
Phillips, A. R. 1962. Notas sistematicas sobre aves maxicanas. II. Anales Inst. Biol. (Univ. 

Mex.) 33: 331-372. 
Phillips, A. R., Speich, S., & Harrison, W. 1973. Black-capped Gnatcatcher, a new breeding 

bird for the United States; with a key to the North American species of Polioptila. 

Auk 90: 257-262. 
Ridgway, R. 1904. The birds of North and Middle America, part 3. Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus. 

50, part 3. 

75 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Slud, P. 1964. The birds of Costa Rica. Bull. Am. Mas. Nat. Hist. 128. 

Wetmore, A. 1957. The birds of Isla Coiba, Panama. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 134 (9). 

Address: Dr. Kenneth C. Parkes, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pa. 
15213 U.S.A. 


Apus pacificus in the Seychelles 
by C. J. Feare 

Received 20 January 1979 
Since 1 972 swifts have been recorded in small numbers in the Seychelles and 
Amirantes. These have included several records of black swifts, presumed 
to be Apus apus, which species has been confirmed from specimens on 
Aldabra (Benson & Penny 1971, Frith 1974). There is also a record of A. 
affinis, one or two individuals having been seen in company with the 
indigenous Collocalia elaphra at Seychelles College, Mahe on 31 December 
1972 (personal observations with D. E. B. Lloyd and J. High). 

In addition, there have been 24 sightings of larger white-rumped swifts 
whose identity was obscure. From 1972 to 1976 I obtained descriptions of 
several individuals, sometimes seen in company with black swifts and in 
May 1978 I photographed two individuals on Bird Island, Seychelles. These 
photographs are deposited at the Museum of Zoology, Cambridge University. 

All the birds were characterised by being largely dark with broad white 
rumps, pale chins and moderately forked tails. Two birds seen on Bird 
Island, Seychelles, in May 1978 at close range (c. 20 m with 8x30 binoculars) 
were black above but slightly paler below. These individuals were frequently 
seen in company with a Mascarene Martin Phedina borbonica and were 
estimated to be two-and-a-half to three times the size of this bird. When seen 
with black swifts they have appeared similar in size, larger, or slightly 
smaller (once). The extent of the pale chin was variable, ranging from an 
indistinct white chin patch, similar to some black swifts, to a larger more 
diffuse pale chin extending with mottling on to the upper breast. One 
individual had a white mark on the lower belly. 

Behaviour was generally similar to black swifts, although on several 
occasions the wing beats of the white-rumped birds appeared noticeably 
slower and more laboured. The May 1978 birds, together with the P. 
borbonica, were notable in flying low over the beach and Sterna fuscat a colony 
after 1 8.45 h when it was almost dark. 

The photographs have been examined by C. W. Benson, R. K. Brooke 
and I. Sinclair. Brooke and Sinclair both commented that the birds were not 
an African species of swift. The photographs and descriptions do, however, 
fit the nominate race of Apus pacificus, the Pacific White-rumped Swift, an 
identification that I had tentatively proposed in 1972. Brooke and Sinclair 
had not seen A. pacificus alive and could not, therefore, confirm that the 
photographs were of this species, but Brooke (in lift, to Benson) commented 
that he was sure "from the evidence now available that A. pacificus is a 
regular but scarce visitor to the Seychelles". After examining skins, Benson 
agreed that the photographs and descriptions referred "in all probability" 
to nominate A. pacificus, and I am now confident that this is the correct 

A. p. pacificus is characterised by having a moderately forked tail, a broad 
white rump and being black apart from a pale chin and pale tips to feathers 

[Bull. B.O.C. ip7p: 99(2)] 76 

on the ventral surface (Lack 1956). These pale tips are visible only at very 
close range, but the mottled upper breasts of some of the Seychelles birds 
and the white mark on the lower belly of one may have been due to these 
feather edgings. The two other races, kanoi and leuconyx can be excluded on 
account of their smaller size and narrow white rumps : kanoi is furthermore 
confined to southeastern Tibet (Dement'ev & Gladkov 1966), while 
leuconyx does occur, though unpredictably, in India (Ali & Ripley 1970). 

A. p. pacificus breeds in eastern Asia and migrates, wintering in Malaysia, 
Indonesia and Australia (Dement'ev & Gladkov 1966). It also occurs as a 
winter migrant or wanderer in parts of eastern Bangladesh (Ali & Ripley 
1 970) and it has been recorded in the Phillipines, New Zealand and Macquarie 
Island (Rabor et al. 1970, Falla et al. 1966, Watson 1975). The 22 sightings 
in the Seychelles (10 on Bird Island, 11 on Frigate Island and 1 on Hot 
Fregate) and 2 in the Amirantes, therefore represent a considerable western 
extension of the known range. 

The seasonal distribution of records (6 in May, 4 in October and 14 in 
November) suggests that the Pacific White-rumped Swift is a passage 
migrant in the Seychelles and Amirantes. However, such a suggestion 
proposes an hitherto unknown wintering area for ( ?) small numbers of these 
swifts in Madagascar or Africa. 

Frith (1974) reported sight records of the Mottled Spinetail Telacanthura 
ussheri on Aldabra in December 1972 and January 1973. Of the 22 Seychelles 
records of A. pacificus, 15 were in October and November 1972. Frith 
identified his birds on the basis of their white rumps and square tails, 2 of 
the birds also showing white vents. One of the Seychelles A. pacificus had a 
white mark on the lower belly (? = white vent), and these swifts could 
appear square-tailed when moulting their tail feathers. The highly migratory 
A. pacificus ', since it occurs perhaps more regularly than so far recorded in 
the Seychelles and Amirantes, would be much more likely to reach Aldabra 
than the non-migratory T. ussheri of East Africa. 

A further white-rumped swift was seen by A. Cheke (pers. comm.) on 
28 June 1974 from a ship anchored off Agalega. He considered that this 
bird was A. horus, on account of the tail shape (incurved outer tail feathers : 
Cheke had noted this feature in Ethiopia) but commented {in. litt.) that 
Agalega was an unlikely place to find this species, which is a local resident 
and partial migrant in East Africa (Williams 1963). A. pacificus now seems 
a more likely alternative. 

The observations recorded here were made possible by a Natural Environment Research 
Council research grant to Prof. G. M. Dunnet, a National Geographic Society grant and by 
W. F. and R. K. Swan (Hellenic) Ltd. I am grateful to them, and also to Messrs R. K. Brooke, 
I. Sinclair and C. W. Benson for examining my photographs and to Mr. Benson for com- 
menting on a draft of this paper. A. Cheke, J. Frazier, T. Payne, J. Procter and J. Watson 
kindly reported sightings of white-rumped swifts to me. 

References : 

Ali, S. & Ripley, S. D. 1970. Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Vol. 4. Bombay: 

Natural History Society. 
Benson, C. W. & Penny, M. J. 1971. The land birds of Aldabra. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. 

B. 260: 417-527. 
Dement'ev, G. P. & Gladkov, N. A. 1966. Birds of the Soviet Union, Vol. 1. Jerusalem: 

Israel Program for Scientific Translations. 
Falla, R. A., Sibson, R. B. & Turbott, E. G. 1966. A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. 

London: Collins. 
Frith, C. B. 1974. New observations of migrants and vagrants for Aldabra, Farquhar and 

Astove Atolls, Indian Ocean. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 94: 12-19. 

77 [Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(2)] 

Lack, D. 1956. The species of Apus. Ibis 98: 34-62. 

Rabor, D. S., Alcala, A. C. & Gonzales, R. B. 1970. A list of the land vertebrates of Negras 

Island, Philippines. S ill i man J. 17: 297-316. 
Watson, G. E. 1975. Birds of the Antarctic and Subantarctic. American Geophysical Union. 
Williams, G. E. 1963. A Field Guide to the Birds of East and Central Africa. London: Collins. 

Address: C. J. Feare, Greenfields, The Street, Ewhurst, Surrey GU6 7RH. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Remarks on specimens, holotype, description and 
subspecies of Chlorophonia flavirostis Schlater 

by J. Inge Is 

Received 22 January 1979 
The genus Chlorophonia consists of 4 species of small, sexually dimorphic tan- 
agers. However, sexes should be alike, or nearly so, in the ju venal and first 
basic (sub-adult) plumages for all 4 species (Skutch 1954). 

C. flavirostris, confined to the Colombian-Pacific region (Meyer de 
Schauensee, pers. comm.), was first described by Sclater (1861, 1886), 
but little has been published since (Gyldenstolpe 1941, Blake 1959, Hilty 
1977). These notes based mainly upon the existing study material, add 
substantial information to the general knowledge of this tanager. 


I have been able to locate 1 9 mounted birds and study skins of C. ftavi- 
rostris\ 5 are housed in a private collection and 14 in public or scientific insti- 
tutions. Exact collecting locality data are known for 6 skins only. 

In the following list, for specimens collected in the wild, data, as far as avail- 
able, are given in the following order: institution which cares for the skin, 
collection number, sex, author (if any) who first recorded the skin, locality 
and year of collection and the collector. 

England: British Museum (Natural History) (BMNH), Tring: 1885. 6. 12. 23, Q (?), 
holotype, described by Sclater (1861), collected in Ecuador. Sclater's guess that the type 
came from the eastern slope of the Andes is probably in error, since all specimens with 
locality data are from the western slope (Storer in Peters 1970); 1925. 12. 24.615, Q, collected 
at Mindo, W. Ecuador, in January 19 14 by W. Goodfellow. 

Sweden: Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm (NHRS): 1919.08. 20.3001, $> men- 
tioned by Gyldenstolpe (19 14), collected below Gualea, W. Ecuador, 20 August 19 19 by 
L. Soderstrom. 

United States: Chicago Natural History Museum (CNHM), Chicago : 25 1021, Q, described 
as a subspecies C.f. minima by Blake (1959), collected near La Guayacana, Narino, S. Colom- 
bia, 20 February 1958 by K. von Schneidern; Louisiana State University Museum of 
Zoology (LSUMZ), Baton Rouge: 60801, immature c$, taken at Alto Yunda near La 
Cascada (Anchicaya Valley), Valle, S. Colombia, 11 June 1975 by S. L. Hilty; Academy of 
Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (PANS): 173498, $; 173499, <$, both collected 27 May 
1973 and 173500, immature $, collected 21 May 1973; all collected near the same locality 
as the LSUMZ specimen, by S. L. Hilty. The LSUMZ and PANS specimens have been 
recorded by the collector (Hilty 1977). 

Denmark: an unsexed specimen acquired in 1909 by the Universitets Zoologisk Museum, 
Copenhagen, has disappeared from the museum's systematic collection (Fjeldsa pers. 
comm.). R. W. Storer (pers. comm.) called my attention to this skin, which he saw when 
preparing the section on tanagers in Peters (1970). 

The skins of 5 <^ S, 1 Q, 2 imm $ $ and 2 unsexed specimens, which had been 
imported alive into the United States and Denmark for zoological or private collections 
and which were preserved after death, are listed below. Data are given in the following 
order: country of importation, sex, previous zoological or private collection where the 
birds were exhibited alive and present owner of the skins. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 78 

Denmark: 3 <$ $, and 1 imm <3 and 1 <J (latter 2 both mounted), live birds originating 
from Ecuador, previously in the private collections of E. Norgaard-Olesen and S. Carsten- 
sen; skins now under care of the former. 

United States: 2 $ $, 1 imm (5 and 2 unsexed specimens, all imported from Ecuador and 
added to the collections of the Boehm Aviaries, and the New York and Cleveland zoos, 
in the early 6o's ; skins are now in the American Museum of Natural History, New York : 
781690, <5; 648896, imm <5; 701828 and 763838, both unsexed; 768814, $. Conway (1962) 
described 701828 when alive as a subspecies C.f. boehmi. 

I believe all specimens now in existence are included in the lists mentioned, 
but I would appreciate hearing of any additional skins of C. flavirostris. 

The holotype was described by Sclater (1861) as: "It appears to be the 
female of some undescribed species of this group" (he meant the genus 
Chlorophonid) and (1886) "The type specimen, which is at present unique, is 
probably a female". Recently, I examined this skin (BMNH 188 5. 6. 12. 23), 
and compared it with the sexed skins in Norgaard-Olesen's private collection 
and the other BMNH and NHRS female skins. Without doubt, it is a 6* in 
immature plumage and not a ?. It has the upper breast bright grass-green, 
typical of immature males. Colour description of adult and immature males 
and females to support this statement, are given hereafter. 

Colour descriptions 

The following corroboratory colour descriptions of adult and immature 
males and females were made after examining the BMNH and NHRS skins 
and the live birds owned by Norgaard-Olesen (prior to their first moult under 
captive conditions). Colours of soft parts were compared with the notes on 
the collector's label of all specimens taken in the wild. 

Adult (3($: mainly bright grass-green; upper back crossed by a golden-yellow collar, 
broader in the centre; centre of breast and belly golden-yellow; golden- yellow under parts 
and grass-green upper breast separated by narrow chestnut band (narrower or broken in 
the middle so that only chestnut patches remain at each side of the breast) ; upper and under 
tail coverts golden-yellow; narrow eye-ring golden-yellow; wing and tail feathers black, 
edged with grass-green; under wing coverts and inner web of primaries white. 

Eye white with a dark iris (Meyer de Schauensee's statement (1970) "iris white" is an 
error). Bill and feet bright orange to orange red; feet tend to be paler, more yellowish than 
bill, which usually is somewhat darker towards the tip of the upper mandible (cf. colour 
plate in Scamell 1969). 

Adult Q ^ : grass-green not so bright as adult tf (J, and with somewhat paler yellow under 
parts; wings and tail black edged with grass-green; centre of belly and vent pale yellow; 
yellow eye-ring not so prominent as in (5 <$. An ill-defined area on the chin faintly yellow; 
<3 ($ lack this yellowish chin. This area is not a "slight chin-spot" (Sclater 1886), that is to 
say it is not a well-defined area with a strikingly different colour compared to the surround- 
ing area. 

Eye, as $. Bill and feet somewhat paler than in <3 <$, rather pinkish yellow to orange 
(cf. colour plate in Sclater 1886). A colour plate of an adult pair of C. flavirostris has been 
published by Norgaard-Olesen (1973). 

Immature <$ <$: resemble adult Q Q, except for the brighter grass-green upper breast and 
the greener chin. Eye-ring as adult <$ <$. 

Immature Q Q : have never been recorded or described, but could possibly resemble less 
brightly coloured adult 9 2- 

In live birds, the colour of bill, legs and feet is rather variable. It seems 
plausible that in the wild, a certain diversity in the colour of soft parts may 
occur, depending upon availability of colouring agents provided by natural 
food. Differences in the colours of soft parts between male and female have 
been reported (Everitt 1973), but are not uniform; individual variations with- 
in males and females may overlap variations between both sexes. 

C.f. minima has been described by Blake (1959) from the skin of an adult 

79 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

§ (CNHM 251021) which was compared with the description of the holo- 
type (Sclater 1861, 1886), then believed to be a $ (now known to be an 
immature <£). The distinction between minima and the nominate form is based 
upon the differences in bill and feet colour, in wing and tail length and in 
chin colour. Blake (1959) used the notes on the label made by K. von 
Schneidern at the time of collection to describe the colour of bill and feet 
of minima as reddish brown and reddish yellow, respectively; and he wrote: 
"The reddish yellow feet have faded to dull yellowish in the skin" (Blake 
1959). Sclater (1861) described the holotype without having seen the freshly 
collected skin and without any information from a collector's label. He 
described the feet as yellow and the bill as yellow, namely the colour these 
soft parts have at the present day in a faded skin, rather than the true colours 
in life. 

Blake (1959) gives the following measurements for minima-, wing 56 mm, 
tail 26 mm. I measured the 3 skins of $? in European collections, and I, 
found that wing and tail lengths of all 3 fall within the range: wing 5 4 - 5— 
56-5 mm, tail 23-5-25-5 mm. However wing and tail lengths of the 3 $£ 
in Norgaard-Olesen's collection fall within the following range : wing 55-8- 
57-2 mm, tail 26-4-28-0 mm. In view of this variability in wing and tail 
lengths of female (and male) skins, Blake's description "Similar to the nomi- 
nate race . . . but decidedly smaller" (wherefore he named the subspecies 
minima) is disputable. It is more probable that in general females are slightly 
smaller than males. 

The colour of the chin area is the strongest argument against differentiation 
into two subspecies. The holotype being an immature male, has no obvious 
pale yellowish chin. In referring to Sclater's description (1881), Blake (1959) 
used the expression "the small, bright yellow throat-spot", which is a mis- 
quotation of Sclater's description "slight chin-spot pale yellow", probably 
due to the fact that Blake did not see the holotype himself (he declares : "I 
have not seen this bird" — Blake 1959). However, Blake's description of the 
CNHM female skin, which he named C. f. minima, agrees completely with 
the NHRS and BMNH female skins. Blake (1959) did not, in fact, refer to 
the NHRS skin, although it had already been mentioned by Gyldenstolpe 
(1941). Since Blake (1959), C.f. minima has been used by Hilty (1977), though 
without justification, to identify specimens collected in the northern part of 
the species' distribution range in Colombia. 

When, in 1962, Conway wrote a paper "After 101 years — a Yellow-billed 
Chlorophonia", he was obviously unaware of the existence of the NHRS, 
BMNH and CNHM skins. The 2 C. flavirostris described in Conway's paper 
were exhibited by the New York Zoological Society, and were 2 of the C. 
flavirostris imported from Ecuador by E. M. Boehm for the E. M. Boehm 
Aviaries. Unfortunately, Everitt (1973) transposed sexes when describing and 
comparing colour patterns of adult $ and $ in Boehm's own collection. 
Conway completes a description of one of Boehm's <$$ with the words : "It 
is barely possible that this bird is a new form {C.f. boehmi, of course! {sic) ). 
It appears larger than our specimen" (he means, the $ in the New York Zoo- 
logical Society's collection). Later, E. M. Boehm donated this particular <$ 9 
together with a smaller one, to the Cleveland 200 and its skin was deposited 
in the American Museum of Natural History after death (AMNH 701828). 
Although this skin was labelled 'unsexed', it must be that larger male men- 
tioned by Conway (1962). The new subspecies boehmi was evidently based 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 80 

upon this one $ C. flavirostris with unusually large measurements: wing 62 
mm, tail 33 mm (J. Bull, pers. comm.). However, no detailed description and 
measurements were given by Conway (1962) and there is no additional 
museum material to support the validity of this new subspecies. 

No justification for subdividing of C. flavirostris can be found in the small 
individual variations within the very limited known material, and the num- 
ber of skins collected for which exact locality data are given is too small to 
prove the existence of subspecific isolated populations. Although both 'sub- 
species' are mentioned by Storer (in Peters 1970), he does not subdivide the 
species. The details given above, support this view. 

Acknowledgements: For their help and comments in preparing this paper, I am indebted 
to D. W. Snow and I. C. J. Galbraith (British Museum, Natural History, Tring), J. Fjeldsa 
(Universitets Zoologisk Museum, Copenhagen), E. Norgaard-Olesen (Janderup, Denmark), 
B.-O. Stolt (Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm), J. Bull (American Museum of 
Natural History, New York), W. G. Conway and J. Bell (New York Zoological Society, 
New York), S. L. Hilty (University of Arizona, Tucson), R. M. de Schauensee and Mrs. 
M. F. Trout (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia), R. W. Storer (University of 
Michigan, Ann Arbor), G. H. Lowery Jr. (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge) and 
H.-G. Klos (Berlin, W. Germany). 

References : 

Blake, E. R. 1959. New and rare Colombian birds. Lo^ania (Acta Zool. Colombiand) 1 1 : 1-10. 

Conway, W. G. 1962. After 101 years - a Yellow-billed Chlorophonia. Anim. Kingdom 65 : 

Everitt, C. 1973. Birds of the E. M.Boehm Aviaries. Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A., E. M. 

Boehm, Inc. 
Gyldenstolpe, N. 1941. On some new or rare birds. Ark. Zool. 33A (n°6): 17. 
Hilty, S. L. 1977. Chlorospingus flavovirens rediscovered with notes on other Pacific Colombian 

and Cauca valley birds. Auk. 94: 44-49. 
Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1970. A Guide to the Birds of South America. Wynnewood, Pennsyl- 
vania: Livingston Publishing Co. 
Norgaard-Olesen, E. 1973. Tanagers (Vol. I). Skibby: Denmark. 
Peters, J. L. 1970. Checklist of Birds of the World, Vol. XIII. Cambridge, Mass: Mus. Comp. 

Scamell, K. M. 1969. The Green-and-Yellow Chlorophonia C. flavirostris. Avic. Mag. 75: 

Sclater, P. L. 1861. Proc. Zool. Soc. London. 1861: 129. 
Sclater, P. L. 1886. Cat.Bds. Brit. Mus. Fringilliformes, part II. 11: 56. 
Skutch, A. F. 1954. Life Histories of Central American Birds. Pacific Coast Avifauna 31: 

Address: Dr. J. Ingels, Galgenberglaan 9, B-9120 Destelbergen, Belgium. 



Alleged occurrence of Kheinartia ocellata in Sumatra 

Dr. H. D. Rijksen conducted field work on the ecology of the orang utan 
Pongo pygmaeus in Sumatra from 1971 to 1974. His study area was in primary 
lowland rain forest at Ketambe, 3 2 km north of the township of Kutacane 
in Aceh Province at 3 40' N, 97 ° 30' E, lying within the Gunung Leuser 
Reserve. While there he compiled a list of the birds and mammals present 
in his study area, which included the pheasant Kheinartia ocellata (Rijksen 
1978). This species has not been recorded from Sumatra before. 

In correspondence Dr. Rijksen wrote that he had "not found any hard evi- 
dence of the occurrence [of R. ocellata] but once glimpsed an animal which 
strongly resembled some plates in books depicting this species". He heard calls 
from this bird which were higher pitched than those of Argusianus argus but 
otherwise similar. 

8 1 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 

Males of the 2 pheasants A. argus and R. ocellata make dancing grounds, 
large cleared spaces used for display, from which they call lo adly and repeat- 
edly. The similarity of their calls has been emphasi2ed, for instance by 
Robinson & Chasen(i936); but detailed descriptions of the calls of R. ocellata, 
which are actually quite distinctive, have only been published since Rijksen's 
field work (Wells 1975, Davison 1978). 

I visited Ketambe from 18 to 21 August 1978, when male A. argus were 
calling continually. In this period I covered the entire 1 • 5 km 2 area used by 
Rijksen (at an altitude from 350 to 500 m) as well as a further large area to 
the south extending to 1020 m altitude. Four dancing grounds between 350 
and 500 m — the total in use within Rijksen's area — and a fifth at 600 m were 
examined. Feathers were found on each which belonged to male A. argus ; 
and all the calls heard from the dancing grounds were of that species. Birds 
at a further 8 distant dancing grounds, on both sides of the Alas valley, were 
identified from calls alone as A. argus. None of the distinctive calls of R. ocel- 
lata were heard. 

It would seem that Rijksen's bird was misidentified due to the inadequacy 
of published descriptions of the calls of R. ocellata, and this species should 
therefore not be added to the Sumatran list. 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to Dinas PPA, Aceh Tenggara, for permission to visit the 
Gunung Leuser Reserve, and to Drs. C. L. and E. Schurrman for their hospitality there. 

References : 

Davison, G. W. H. 1978. Studies of the Crested Argus, II. Gunung Rabong 1976. World 

Pheasant Association Journal III : 46-5 3 . 
Rijksen, H. D. 1978. A field study on Sumatran Orang Utans {Pongo pygmaeus abelii Lesson 

1827). Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen. Veenman: Wageningen. 
Robinson, H. C. & Chasen, F. N. 1936. Birds of the Malay Peninsula, Vol. III. Witherby: 

Wells, D. R. 1975. Bird Report 1972 and 1973. Malay. Nat. J. 28: 186-213. 

4 January ipyp G. W. H. Davison 

Address: Zoology Department, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


Two overlooked vagrants from the 
Tristan da Cunha group 

The most recent list of the birds of the Tristan da Cunha group is that of 
Elliott (1957). He does not mention either the Ringed Plover Charadrius hiati- 
cula of the Holarctic or the Dark-billed Cuckoo Coccy^us melacoryphus of the 
Neotropical as vagrants collected there. C. melacoryphus is mentioned without 
comment by Winterbottom (1976) in his report on the Keytel collection. 
Peringuey (1910: 5), who was Director of the South African Museum, Cape 
Town, adverts to the Keytel collection and states "there was also procured 
a South American Cuckoo, that had found its way to Nightingale Island". 
Peringuey (1924: 8) describes an exhibit of Tristan birds that he had caused 
to be displayed. He notes with pleasure that the museum has two species not 
recorded by Wilkins (1923) "1, a South American Cuckoo {Coccy^us melano- 
coryphus) and 2, the Ringed Plover {Aegialitis hyaticola), accidental importa- 
tions no doubt". 

The 1924 reference to a cuckoo should be read with the 19 10 reference, 
i.e. Keytel obtained a Coccy^us melocoryphus on Nightingale Island during his 
period in the group, which Peringuey (19 10) and Winterbottom (1976) give 
as 1 907-1 909. This is not the first record of vagrancy by C. melacoryphus : it 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(2)] 82 

has also reached the Falkland Islands (Bennett 1937, not 1938 as in Meyer 
de Schauensee 1966: 137) and it even breeds in the Galapagos Islands. 
Neither Peringuey (1910) nor Winterbottom (1976) mention Charadrius hiati- 
cula in connection with Keytel and his work and we may assume that it was 
not obtained by him but by someone else a little later in the century. 

The record of Coccy^us melacoryphus is further support for Rand's (195 5) 
thesis that it is only from the Americas that land birds can be expected to 
reach the Tristan group. How the seashore frequenting Charadrius hiaticula 
reached the group is uncertain since it is only a vagrant in the Americas south 
of the Arctic Circle (Meyer de Schauensee 1966). 

References : 

Bennett, A. G. 1937. Coccy^us melanocoryphus in the Falkland Islands. Ibis Ser. 14(1): 868. 

Elliott, H. F. I. 1957. A contribution to the ornithology of the Tristan da Cunha group. 

Ibis 99: 545-586. 
Meyer de Schauensee, R. 1966. The Species of Birds of South America and their Distribution. 

Livingston Publ., Narberth (U.S.A.). 
Peringuey, L. 1910. in 'Report of the South African Museum for the year ended 31st 

December, i909'.jCape Times, Cape Town, for Govt Printer: G.8-1910. 
Peringuey, L. 1924. in 'Report of the South African Museum for the year ended 31st 

December, 1923'. Cape Times, Cape Town, for Govt Printer, Pretoria. 
Rand, A. L. 1955. The origin of the land birds of Tristan da Cunha. Fieldiana Zool. 37: 

Wilkins, G. H. 1923. Report on the birds collected during the voyage of the 'Quest' 

(Shackleton-Rowett Expedition) to the southern Atlantic. Ibis Ser. 11(5): 474-511. 
Winterbottom, J. M. 1976. Keytel's birds from Tristan da Cunha. Ostrich 47: 69-70. 

v 2s2 December ipyS R. K. Brooke 

Address: FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, R.S.A. 

The Atlas of Australian Birds : an appeal for data 
from museum collections 

'^Wstralia has embarked upon the production of a bird Atlas, organised by 
the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union and funded by Commonwealth 
Government grants. This scheme, unlike its British counterpart, aims to 
determine both the breeding and non-breeding distribution of all Australian 
birds. The Atlas has been divided into 2 parts: the Field Atlas which records 
bird distributions for the five years from 1977 until 1981, and the Historical 
Atlas which aims at recording distributions prior to 1977. Data for the His- 
torical Atlas comes from 3 sources — field notebooks, museum specimens and 

Work has already begun on extracting records from these 3 sources, but 
many early Australian skin and egg collections were taken out of the country 
and lodged in museums and private collections overseas. We are aware of 
the Australian specimens in the British, the Royal Scottish and the Cambridge 
University Museums but feel sure that there are other collections which 
would be of great value to the Atlas if the information was made available. 
Preferably, specimens should be labelled and include such details as the date 
and locality. 

Any information on the whereabouts of such collections should be sent (by 
the end of July if possible) to: Penny Paton, c/o Mr. D. C. Paton, Dept. Ecol. 
& Evol. Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, 
Irvine, California 92717 U.S.A. 
28 March 1979 


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ISSN 0007-1595 

Bulletin of the 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 99 No. 3 

September 1979 


Tuesday 20 November 1979 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, 
South Side, Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, S.W.7, Mr. M. E. J. Gore (who is currently 
writing a checklist on the avifauna of The Gambia for the B.O.U.) on Birds of The Gambia. 
Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £4.30 per person with their acceptance 
on the enclosed slip to the Hon. Secretary at 2 Chestnut Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3AR 
to arrive not later than first post on Thursday, 1 5 November. 

Tuesday ij January 1980. This will be the first meeting of the year in which the centen- 
nial volume of the Bulletin will be published. In view of the pioneer studies of the Club on 
migration, the Reports on which filled nine volumes of the Bulletin, it is appropriate that 
Dr. C. J. Bibby will speak on Ecological aspects of Migration, at the same time and place as 
on November (see above). Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £4.30 per 
person with their acceptance on the enclosed slip to the Hon. Secretary at 2 Chestnut Lane, 
Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3AR to arrive not later than first post on Thursday, 10 January 

March j April 1980. To be arranged. 

May 1980. Dr. L. H. Brown will be the speaker. 

Please inform the Hon. Secretary (telephone 0732 50313) without delay if you accept and 
are subsequently unable to attend. 



P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Beven {Vice-Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) B. Gray 

R. D. Chancellor J. G. Parker 

C. F. Mann 

<© British Ornithologists' Club 


83 [o^Ofj, \B«U- B.O.C. 1979- 99(3)] 

Bulletin of the \& >*&! 


Vol. 99 No. 3 Published: 20 September 1979 

The seven hundred and twentieth Meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 15 May 1979 at 7 p.m. 
Total attendance was 21 Members and 7 guests. 

Members present were: P. HOGG {Chairman), Miss I. P. BARCLAY-SMITH, J. P. C. 

Guests present were: Dr. B. Stonehouse (speaker), Miss M. Barry, Mrs. G. K. McCulloch, 
G. P. McCulloch, Capt. I. E. McCulloch, J. Messenger, Mrs. B. K. Snow. 

Dr. B. Stonehouse spoke on Penguins and FHghtlessness in Birds. He dealt first with the 
evolution of penguins, deducing that the earliest forms must have been small, although no 
fossil remains of them have yet been discovered. He explained that they evolved as temper- 
ate water birds and that now most species are to be found in the zone 4o°S-6o°S, seeking 
cold water areas and approximately the same water temperature all the year round. He 
showed slides, including one of the wing loadings of various groups of sea-birds. He dealt 
with the effect of wing loading upon the ability of a bird to fly and the nature of its flight 
and this gave rise to considerable discussion of particular interest, covering many sea birds. 

The seven hundred and twenty first Meeting of the Club was held at the Goat Tavern, 
3 Stafford Street, London W.i., on Tuesday, 10 July 1979 at 7 p.m. Total attendance was 
20 members and 3 guests. 

Members present were: P. HOGG (Chairman), W. G. HARVEY (speaker), MISS 

Guests present were: Miss M. Barry, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Scarlett. 

Mr. W. G. Harvey gave an illustrated address on Ornithology and Conservation in 
Indonesia. He gave much information about the relationship between the species found in 
Indonesia and those in adjacent areas and on ornithological work carried out in Indonesia. 
He pointed out that there was little known about the bird populations currently in forest 
areas and that investigation of the remaining forests, particularly in Java, was much needed. 
Indonesia had about 340 endemic bird species outside New Guinea (in which there were 
about 470 endemic species) and the density of birds was low in the most populated areas, 
so he feared that a number of species must be in danger of extinction. 

Variations in the external features of the 
Spur-winged Goose 

by A. Clark 

Received 26 January iyjy 
The Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis is accepted by most auth- 
orities as a member of the tribe of perching ducks Cairinini, alongside two 
other African species, the Pygmy Goose Nettapus auritus and the Knob-billed 
(or Comb) Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos. Woolfenden (1961), on the other hand, 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 84 

found many features characteristic of Shelduck (Tadornini) in its post-cranial 
skeleton and considered it an aberrant Shelduck. It is not as aquatic as the 
Shelduck and the polygamous nature of the males resembles that of the 
Knob-billed Duck. Reviewing the known characteristics of the two tribes, 
Delacour (1954/64) retains it in the Cairinini, but as a rather aberrant mem- 
ber. It is the largest and most wary of African waterfowl and the sole repre- 
sentative of its genus in the world. 

The Spur- winged Goose is distributed throughout Africa from the Sahara 
to the Cape but is absent from the drier parts of the Cape Province, South 
West Africa (Namibia) and Botswana. Stark & Sclater (1906) seldom met 
with it south of the Orange River and today its principal stronghold in the 
Republic of South Africa (RSA) is in the Vaal basin where the population 
probably exceeds 10,000. It is not uncommon in other parts of the RSA 
where suitable watery habitat is available. 

Stark & Sclater (1906) accepted two species Plectropterus gambensis and P. 
niger but considered the differences could be merely subspecific. Delacour 
(1954/64) treated them as two races, the Gambian Spur-winged Goose P. 
g. gambensis and the Black Spur- winged Goose P. g. niger ■, the former distri- 
buted between the Sahara and the Zambezi and the latter between the Zam- 
bezi and the Cape, but recognised many intermediates. According to 
Delacour niger has a less conspicuous knob on the head, reduced bare 
patches on the face and less white on the face, neck, breast and wings than 
gambensis. Clancey (1967), also accepted two races, but considered the 
distinctive characteristics to have developed in isolation and that the two 
races, now in secondary contact, were producing many intermediates. North 
of the Zambezi, in Malawi, Laycock (1965) recorded one of the darker form, 
while a specimen from Ethiopia (Abyssinia) in the British Museum, collected 
in 1905, although labelled P. g. gambensis, shows characteristics of the 
southern form. 

Benson et al. (1970), McLachlan & Liversidge (1970) and Prozesky (1970) 
treat the species as monotypic, apparently agreeing with Smithers & 
Mackenzie (1973) that it is not possible to separate the species into two races. 
Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1962) likewise recognise no races. 

In an attempt to throw some light on these differences specimens were 
examined at the British Museum, Tring (38 P. g. gambensis and 6 P. g. niger), 
Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge (2 P. g. gambensis and 2 P. g. niger) and the Trans- 
vaal Museum (4 P. g. gambensis and 4 P. g. niger). 

The size of the knob was found to be variable in both races, but in most 
niger females the knob was either absent or less pronounced. The extent of 
the bare area on the face, which evidently extends with age, was variable and 
this applied to both sexes of either race. In what appeared to be specimens 
of old birds the bare area covered the knob, surrounded the eye and covered 
part of the cheek. Nine of 3 1 adult gambensis of both sexes and 3 of 4 niger 
specimens had small wattles on the top of the head, a feature which evidently 
occurs throughout the range. The extent of the white feathers on the face 
was variable, specimens collected 70 years ago in most African countries 
showed its extent to vary from nothing to full face (when the white feathers 
extend to the chin and throat), and more recent specimens showed no dif- 
ference. Even so, most specimens of niger showed less white on the face than 

8 5 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

gambensis and this appeared to be true also for the underparts. Live birds from 
Nigeria present in the Slimbridge collection during 1978 when compared 
with most wild birds seen on the Witwatersrand at this time confirmed these 

There were 2 male specimens at the British Museum (1 Ethiopian and 1 
Zambian) and 3 males at the Transvaal Museum, (2 from the Zambezi and 
one collected near Rustenburg, Transvaal in 1938), which had a bare patch 
at the top of either side of the neck (which in live birds appears red or 
orange). The Nigerian male in the Slimbridge collection had this distinctive 
feature. Most published illustrations (Delacour 1954/64, Scott 1961) show the 
bare red neck patch on the male of the northern form only and Marler (1973) 
states that it does not occur in niger. However, it can often be seen in male 
birds amongst wild flocks on the Witwatersrand and it can be seen in birds 
at Ndumu, Zululand (M. D. Olver, pers. comm.). Clancey (1967) found it 
present in southern African birds (presumably for Natal) and Smithers & 
Mackenzie (1973) show it as occurring in Rhodesian birds. Evidently it can 
be found in male birds throughout the range. 

Extremes of variability in all these distinctive features were found in both 
northern and southern forms. Seventy years ago Horsburgh (191 2), who 
accepted two species, found birds in the Orange Free State and the Trans- 
vaal answering to the description of the northern species P. gambensis^ 
although he does not mention the bare red neck patch, and this appears to 
be true today. 

Although there are no unsurmountable geographical barriers between the 
various African regions for a strong flier like the Spur- winged Goose 
(ringing of RSA birds has provided no evidence of regular seasonal move- 
ments but occasional flights in excess of 600 km have been recorded) it is 
possible that the West African birds form a fairly discrete population, and 
this could be true also of the Ethiopian population. Museum specimens are 
admittedly inadequate for a critical assessment of the variables involved due 
to deterioration of the plumage, the apparent inaccuracy of some sex deter- 
minations and the inability to adjust for the effect of age on some features. 
Nevertheless, it is clear from this survey that the level of individual varia- 
tion in many populations is such that no satisfactory arrangement of the 
species into northern and southern forms can now be effected. The two types 
were in all probability segregated from one another in former times, but with 
the disappearance of the cause or causes of isolation, intermixing has taken 
place and the variable population we now encounter has resulted. In the cir- 
cumstances I do not believe that the P. gambensis warrants treatment as a poly- 
typic species. 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank the Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge, the British Museum, 
Tring and the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria, for permission to examine skins. I am indebted 
to Mr. P. A. Clancey for reading this note whilst in draft and for constructive comments. 

References : 

Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. Stuart. 1970. The Birds of 

Zambia. London: Collins. 
Clancey, P. A. 1967. Game Birds of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Purnell. 
Delacour, J. 1954/64. The Waterfowl of the World. 4 vols. London: Country Life. 
Horsburgh, Boyd R. 1912. Game Birds and Waterfowl of South Africa. London: Witherby. 
Laycock, H. T. 1965. Aquatic birds of Blantyre. Ostrich 36: 127. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 86 

Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1962. Birds of the Southern Third of Africa. 

London: Longmans Green. 
Marler, C. 1973. Breeding of the Black Spur-winged Goose and the Black Brant at Flamingo 

Gardens, Olney. Int. Zoo. Year Book 13. 
McLachlan, G. R. & Liversidge, R. 1970. Robert's Birds of South Africa. Cape Town: 

Central News Agency Ltd. 
Pitman, C. R. S. 1963. The nesting and some other habits of Alopochen, Nettapus, Plectrop- 

terus and Sarkidiornis. Wildfowl Trust, 1 6th Annual Report. 
Prozesky, O. P. M. 1970. A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa. London: Collins. 
Scott, P. 1 96 1. A Key to the Wildfowl of the World. London: Country Life. 
Smithers, R. H. N. & Mackenzie, M. J. S. 1973. Guide to the Waterfowl of Rhodesia. Trustees: 

National Museum and Monuments of Rhodesia. 
Stark, A. C. & Sclater, W. L. 1906. The Fauna of South Africa. Birds, 4. London: Porter. 
Woolfenden, G. E. 1961. Post cranial osteology of the Waterfowl. Bull. Florida State M us. 

Biol. Sci. 6(1): 1-129. 

Address: A Clark, 32 Southy Road, Farrarmere, Benoni 1500, Transvaal, South Africa. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

The Bradypterus cinnamomeus-mariae complex 
in Central Africa 

by R. J. Dow sett & R. Stjernstedt 

Received j February 19J9 

The status of Bradypterus cinnamomeus ufipae 

Since Grant & Mackworth-Praed (1941) described Bradypterus cinnamomeus 
ufipae from Mbisi, Sumbawanga, on the Ufipa Plateau in southwestern 
Tanzania, all workers have attributed this form to the species B. cinnamomeus. 
Grant & Mackworth-Praed considered ufipae to be confined to the Ufipa 
Plateau ; they record that the type (obtained by R. E. Moreau's collector) was 
from an altitude of 2440 m, although in fact Mbisi Forest is at about 2250 m. 
White (i960) considered ufipae to be a poorly differentiated form, best 
treated as synonymous with B. c. nyassae. Benson et al. (1971) ascribe to 
B. cinnamomeus a wide distribution in northern Zambia, in both montane and 
non-montane areas. They attribute all Zambian material to the race nyassae, 
but point out that birds from non-montane areas of the Northern and 
Luapula Provinces are rather redder, implying an approach to ufipae. Hall & 
Moreau (1970) draw attention to these Central African populations (Map 
179), but consider them "duller and more olive" than populations of 
B. cinnamomeus horn elsewhere. 

During the past few years we have studied the morphology, vocalisations 
and distribution of various populations of Bradypterus in Central Africa. We 
are convinced that all workers have been in error in ascribing ufipae to B. 
cinnamomeus, as it is clearly a form of B. mariae (or B. barratti, sensu lato). The 
Bradypterus which occurs in the non-montane forests of northern Zambia, 
mostly between 1200 and 1600 m altitude, is the species mariae and not 

White (i960) appears to have confused these two species in the hand, as 
did Grant & Mackworth-Praed (1941) and other workers; we suspect that 
when he considered ufipae to be close to B. cinnamomeus nyassae, he cannot 
have had specimens of nyassae for a direct comparison. 

8 7 [Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(3)] 

The songs of the two species have also been confused, for Benson (1956) 
considered the song-call of northern Zambian birds (which he and Moreau 
then attributed to ufipae) to be similar to that of B. c. nyassae, which Benson 
(1940) had in fact distinguished from the voice of B. mariae (as B. usambarae) 
in Malawi. Benson (in lift.) feels that this error may have been due to deteri- 
oration in his hearing, and by 1964 he could not hear the song of either 
species at all. 

The morphology, voice and ecological distribution of these two Brad- 
ypterus species in Central Africa are discussed below. For the purpose of the 
present study we find it convenient to consider B. mariae and the Cameroun- 
East Congo B. lope^i species separate from B. barratti of southern Africa, of 
which we have no personal experience. Both White (i960) and Hall & Moreau 
(1970) treated all 3 forms as members of a single species, B. barratti. Benson 
(1946) felt that the voice of barratti in eastern Rhodesia was indistinguishable 
from that of B. mariae usambarae and granti of Malawi, but his description of 
barratti' \r voice differs in several respects from our own experience of that of 
usambarae. Moreover, Oatley (1969: 178) implies that B. barratti of Natal (in 
comparison to B. cinnamomeus=mariae of northwestern Zambia) does not 
duet. Clearly, anyone in a position to tape-record the voice of barratti should 
compare it sonographically with the songs of the mariae populations dis- 
cussed in the present paper. 

Morphological differences between 
Bradypterus mariae and cinnamomeus 

In 1 97 1, during a visit to the Ufipa Plateau, Dowsett was impressed by the 
morphological similarity of topotypical ufipae in Mbisi Forest to B. mariae 
usambarae of the montane forest interior of the Nyika Plateau. Both are 
distinct from B. c. nyassae of the Nyika in having the colour of the upperparts 
dark and saturated, and a relatively short tail with narrow rectrices. Dowsett 
found ufipae frequently on the edge of forest (a niche usually occupied by 
B. cinnamomeus') as well as inside, but this is not surprising as much of the 
canopy of Mbisi Forest is broken up by emergents such as Euphorbia sp., and 
the dark under-storey usually favoured by mariae is generally lacking. As far 
as we could determine, ufipae is the only form of Bradypterus at Mbisi. Else- 
where in southwestern Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi we have found two 
species sympatrically in several localities: B. mariae in the interior and B. 
cinnamomeus in bracken-briar on the edge of forest. 

When Dowsett visited the Marungu highlands of southeastern Zaire in 
1972 (Dowsett & Prigogine 1974) he found 2 forms of Bradypterus: — ufipae 
inside narrow riparian forest and cinnamomeus in bracken-briar on the forest 
edge. Specimens of both were collected, and these were compared to series 
gathered from the collections of the British Museum (Natural History), 
American Museum of Natural History, Livingstone Museum (Zambia), 
Musee Royal de PAfrique Centrale (Tervuren) and National Museums of 
Rhodesia. The results of comparisons made independently by C. W. Benson, 
Mrs. R. T. Chapin and Dr. A. Prigogine are discussed by Dowsett & Prigo- 
gine (1974). These comparisons, which included the types of ufipae and 
nyassae, showed clearly that the Marungu specimens were of these 2 forms. 
Consequently, ufipae cannot be considered conspecific with B. cinnamomeus, 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 88 

as they occur on Marungu within sight and sound of each other. We there- 
fore concluded that ufipae is correctly placed in the species mariae or barratti. 

In colour jB. cinnamomeus nyassae differs consistently from the races of 
B. mariae in being paler on the upperparts, more reddish and less chocolate in 
tone. Below, nyassae is less richly coloured than B. m. granti of southern 
Malawi, the throat always white without any rufous wash, and the white on 
the belly better developed. By comparison, nyassae and ufipae are more similar 
below. The rectrices of nyassae are wider than those of mariae, the central pair 
when fresh being about 15 mm wide at one- third of their length from the 
apex, as against 10 mm. 

It is clear from the measurements of these two Bradypterus species that 
there is no consistent size difference between the sexes, although the largest 
individuals are usually males. For this reason measurements of both sexes 
and of unsexed specimens are combined in Table 1. C. W. Benson and 
M. P. S. Irwin (in lift.) kindly supplied the wing and tail lengths, taken by 
them from museum specimens on our behalf. The weights were all taken by 
Dowsett from birds collected or caught for ringing. 

Table i 
Weights and measurements of Bradypterus cinnamomeus and B. mariae in Central Africa 

Weights (g) Wing (mm) Tail (mm) Tail/Wing 

B. cinnamomeus nyassae 
(Localities from Nguru Mts, 
Tanzania, south to Mulanje Mt, 
Malawi; Marungu, Zaire). 


mean: 18.5 








1. 18 

B. mariae ufipae 

(Ufipa, Tanzania ; Marungu, 

Zaire ; northeast and northwest 



mean: 20.2 







0.97-1. 11 

B. mariae granti & usambarae 
(Mt Rungwe, Tanzania south to 
Mulanje Mt, Malawi). 

12. 0-19. 9 

mean: 16.9 





5 5-67 





The ratio of tail to wing length is considered to be of specific importance, 
and the figures for B. cinnamomeus nyassae, which has a relatively long tail, 
barely overlap with those for the races of B. mariae. 

B. m. ufipae is larger than the other races of this species studied here, in 
wing and tail measurements, and it even averages heavier than B. c. nyassae. 
However, ufipae does have the relatively short tail typical of B. mariae, 
although it shows some approach to B. c . nyassae in this character. 

Our data, although admittedly limited, do not suggest any increase in size 
differences between B. cinnamomeus and B. mariae where they are sympatric 
geographically (e.g. Nyika, Rungwe and Marungu). As these two species 
are almost invariably segregated ecologically where they do occur together, 
there is unlikely to be any direct competition between them. 


Independently of studies of the morphological relationship of ufipae, 
important differences in the vocalisations of some Central African popula- 
tions of Bradypterus were noticed by Stjernstedt. In particular, he noted that 
the voice of the supposed B. cinnamomeus in the non-montane forests of 

89 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

northeastern Zambia was apparently identical to that of montane B. mariae 
of the somhern highlands of Tanzania and of ufipae in the Mbisi Forest. 
These Zambian birds responded actively to playbacks of the recorded song 
of mariae from southwestern Tanzania. 

jB. c. nyassae of southwestern Tanzania has a song very different from that of 
B. mariae, with which it is locally sympatric, and tape recordings of nyassae 
produced no response from the birds tested in northeastern Zambia at 
Mbala. At first Stjernstedt thought that the song of B. cinnamomeus must 
diverge where the species occurs sympatrically with B. mariae, but this is 



\ ~\ 


1 sec 

v. ^ 


„ «"*i 


Fig. 1. Sonograms illustrating songs of: A, Bradypterus cinnamomeus nyassae, Mbeya (south- 
west Tanzania); B, B. c. nyassae, Ilembo (southwest Tanzania); C, B. c. cinnamomeus, 
Irangi Forest (Kenya). 1 A, iB from tapes by Stjernstedt, iC from Keith (1971). 


o - 

* V"V V"V^ 

4 - 

1 sec 


U ft V \HA' 

Nk VU Wa \a lA 

6 -I 

4 - 

2 - 




y*i i /^ 

^ * *» 

V \ *' 

6 1 

4 - 

1 'I! 'I| 'II 1/1 

2 - 

--./i./uw\/ /1/i/lflflH 

r- I 

Fig. 2. Songrams illustrating songs of: k.Bradypterus mariae ufipae , Mbisi Forest (southwest 
Tanzania) ; B, B. m. ufipae, Mbala (northwest Zambia) ; C, B. m. usambarae, Tukuyu 
(Southwest Tanzania) ; D, B. m. usambarae, Ilembo (southwest Tanzania) ; E, B. lope^i 
camerunensis, Mt Cameroun. All from tapes by Stjernstedt. 

9 i [Bull. B.O.C. 9979 : 99(3)] 

clearly not the case, for in playback experiments the Mbala population did 
react to the song of mariae. 

The song of B. cinnamomeus (Fig. 1) is typically a rattle of 10-20 beats per 
second, lasting about one second and preceded by 2-5 "seep - seep - seep" 
notes. A second bird sometimes accompanies in duet with three or four high 
pitched notes of even pitch. 

The song of B. mariae (Fig. 2) differs from that of B. cinnamomeus in the 
following respects: no initial "seep" notes; delivery of notes varying in 
tempo from 2 to 6 beats per second, sometimes grouped in twos (e.g. Fig. 
2A, 2C); notes are delivered crescendo; if a second bird accompanies in duet 
(Fig. 2 A, 2B, 2C) it gives arhythmic phrases of variable pitch. 

Fig. iC shows a sample of the song of nominate B. cinnamomeus from 
Kenya (from Keith 1971). Here the tempo is rather slower, resembling the 
song of B. mariae in this respect, but there is no crescendo and it is preceded 
by the diagnostic "seep". Fig. 2E depicts the voice of B. lope^i from Mt 
Cameroun, considered by some authorities to be specifically distinct from 
mariae and barratti. We have not examined specimens of this form, but the 
song can be seen to be typical of mariae. 

To sum up, the vocalisations of B. mariae ufipae, the other forms of mariae 
and of jB. cinnamomeus suggest a similar picture to that presented by our 
studies of morphology and ecology. 

The distribution of 
B. cinnamomeus and B. mariae in central Africa 
Because Hall & Moreau (1970) followed White (i960) and others, their 
Maps 179 and 180 are mainly - though not entirely - incorrect as regards the 

Fig. 3. The Central African distribution of Bradypterus cinnamomeus and B. mariae. Zambian 
records plotted by \° square (from An Atlas of the Birds of Zambia, Dowsett in prep.). 

[Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(3)] 92 

Central African distribution of these two Brady pter us species. In Fig. 3 we 
show their correct distributions in this area, based on our field observations 
and the re-assessment of specimens described in this paper. 

Doubt attaches to the identity of Bradjpterus warblers noted at 2 localities 
(shown as ? in Fig. 3). Benson & Benson (1977) refer to B. cinnamomeus as 
"probable also on Uzumara" (a satelite mountain of the North Vipya, in 
sight of the Nyika), but Benson (in lift.) did not collect a specimen, nor can 
he trace any sound record. According to Chapman & White (1970: 132), 
Uzumara reaches only to 1920 m altitude. At Namuli in Mozambique, 
Vincent (193 5 : 511) saw and heard Bradjpterus which he considered similar 
to those he collected on Mulanje. Both Vincent's specimens are in the British 
Museum at Tring, and are B. mariae (Benson in lift.). Although there is no 
specimen from Namuli, it is likely that jB. mariae occurs there. 

However, B. cinnamomeus does also occur on Mulanje, which is the type 
locality of the race nyassae. Benson has kindly re-examined the type specimen 
for us, and confirms that it is indeed a form of cinnamomeus. The status of this 
species on Mulanje is not clear, and White (i960: 408) remarked that it was 
known from there only by the type. Belcher (1925: 810) referred a C/2 
collected on Mulanje to cinnamomeus, although his comparison of the voice of 
birds heard "in the wood" to that of the Bradjpterus {mariae) of Zomba and 
Chiradzulu, suggests that he also encountered mariae there. The field observa- 
tions of Penry & Talbot (1975) suggest they were not always confident of 
their identifications of Bradjpterus on Mulanje, but they nevertheless seem to 
have found both species quite common, and Jackson (1971) obtained 
specimens of both. 

Doubtful field observations from elsewhere in Malawi are mentioned by 
Benson & Benson (1977: 149-50, 255). Until records of B. cinnamomeus from 
Zomba and its outlier Malosa are supported by specimens, sound recordings 
or critical field notes, we would agree with Benson & Benson that they 
cannot be admitted. However, Garcia's observations of Bradjpterus in both 
forest and bracken-briar do suggest a priori that 2 species may be present. 
Benson & Benson also mention the need for further investigation in south- 
western Ntcheu District. This is in reference to the observations of Benson 
(1942: 314), who reported B. mariae from Mvai Mt and between Tsangano 
Mt and the Ntcheu border, in bracken-briar. In this habitat cinnamomeus 
might seem more likely, although Benson (op. cit.) mentions a specimen of 
mariae from Dzonze Mt, some 2 5 km south of Mvai. 

We have accepted the sound record of B. cinnamomeus from bracken-briar 
on Chimaliro, reported by Benson (op. cit.), even though we have stressed 
the care needed to separate the two species on voice alone. Chimaliro, like 
Uzumara, is a northern element of the North Vipya, and is isolated from the 
Nyika (where cinnamomeus is common) by lowlands. The mountain is 2060 m 
high and has extensive forest (Chapman & White 1970: 134), in which 
B. mariae is certainly also to be expected. Uzumara and Chimaliro are both 
poorly-known ornithologically. Benson & Benson (1977) refer to there being 
no record of mariae from Ntchisi Mt, and certainly we know of no specimen 
from there. However, Benson (1940: 619) reported it as "very rare on Nchisi 
Mt", and in view of the occurrence of other montane forest species there, 
Benson (in litt.) agrees with us that this record is acceptable. 

93 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979- 99(3)1 

Sub specific distribution in Central Africa 

We have not re-assessed all subspecific variation in these z Braaypterus. 
However, the divisions of White (i960) clearly require review in so far as he 
considered jB. mariae ufipae to be synonymous with B. cinnamomeus nyassae. It 
does seem that nyassae is the form of cinnamomeus from Nguru in northeastern 
Tanzania southwards to Mulanje (Benson in litt.). As mentioned earlier, 
B. mariae ufipae appears to be longer tailed than adjacent usambarae, larger in 
body size and perhaps whiter on the throat and abdomen. However, Fig. 3 
clearly shows that there is no obvious barrier between the ranges of ufipae 
and usambarae. The populations of northeastern Zambia (ufipae) approach 
geographically the undoubted usambarae of southwestern Tanzania to the 
north of Lake Malawi. Further investigation is needed to determine the 
extent of any integradation in this area. 

Benson (in litt.) has also re-examined specimens of B. barratti boultoni from 
western Angola. He confirms that this very isolated population is rightly 
placed with the barratti group, and not with cinnamomeus. The 2 specimens 
examined have narrow rectrices and a tail/wing ratio of 1.02 and 1.03 (cf. 
Table 1). The heavy streaks on the chest of boultoni show a closer approach 
to the populations of southern Africa, than to those of mariae (sensu stricto) in 
the east. 

Acknowledgements: We are greatly indebted to Mr. C. W. Benson for examining museum 
specimens on our behalf and for his encouraging criticism of this study. We are grateful to 
Mrs. R. T. Chapin, Mr. M. P. Stuart Irwin and Dr. A. Prigogine for advice; to Mr. Stuart 
Irwin also for the loan of specimens from the National Museums of Rhodesia, and to Mr. 
I. C. J. Galbraith and Dr. D. W. Snow for the use of facilities at the British Museum 
(Natural History), Tring. We thank Mrs. J. Hall-Craggs for advice on vocalisations, and 
Dr. F. Dowsett-Lemaire for preparing the sonograms at the University of Liege, Belgium, 
and for her comments on this paper. 

References : 

Belcher, C.F. 1925. Birds on the Luchenya Plateau, Mlanje, Nyasaland. Ibis. Ser. 12(1): 

Benson, C.W. 1940. Further notes on Nyasaland birds (with particular reference to those 

of the Northern Province) - Part III. Ibis. Ser. 14(4) : 5 83-629. 

— 1942. Additional notes on Nyasaland birds. Part 2. Ibis. Ser. 14(6) : 299-3 37. 

— 1946. A new race of Scrub- Warbler from Southern Rhodesia. Ostrich 17: 197-199. 

— 1956. New or unusual records from Northern Rhodesia. Ibis. 98: 595-605. 

— & Benson, F. M. 1977. TheBirds of Malawi. Limbe : Montfort Press. 

— ,Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. S. 1971. The Birds of Zambia. London: 

Chapman, J. D. & White, F. 1970. The Evergreen Forests of Malawi. Oxford: Commonwealth 

Forestry Institute. 
Dowsett, R. J. & Prigogine, A. 1974. The avifauna of the Marungu Highlands. Exploration 

hydrobiologique du bassin du lacBangweolo et duLuapula 19 : 1-67. 
Grant, C. H. B. & Mackworth-Praed, C. W. 1941. A new race of Bracken Warbler from 

Tanganyika Territory and a new race of Moustached Warbler from Abyssinia. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 62 : 30-3 1 . 
Hall, B. P. & Moreau, R. E. 1970. An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds. London: 

British Museum (Nat. Hist.). 
Jackson, H. D. 1971. Ornithological results of the 1970 National Museums of Rhodesia 

expedition to Malawi. Arnoldia(PJ>od.) 5(12): 1-10. 
Keith, S. 1971. In: Keith, S. & Gunn, W. W. H. (producers). Sounds of nature: Birds of the 

African Rain Forests. (Text and 2 records.) Federation of Ontario Naturalists & 

American Museum of Nat. Hist. 
Oatley, T. B. 1969. Bird ecology in the evergreen forests of north-western Zambia. Puku 5 : 


[Bull B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 94 

Penry, E. H. & Talbot, J. N. 1975. Notes on the birds of the higher altitudes of Mulanje 

Mountain, Malawi. Honey guide 82 : 14-25 . 
Vincent, J. 1935. The birds of northern Portuguese East Africa. Part 8. Ibis. Ser. 13(5): 

White, C. M. N. i960. A Check List of the Ethiopian Muscicapidae (Sylviinae). Part I. 

Occ. Papers Nat. Mus. S. Rhod. 24B : 399-430. 

Addresses: R. J. Dowsett, Livingstone Museum, P.O. Box 498, Livingstone, Zambia; 

Present address: Nyika National Park, Private Bag Chilinda, P.O. Rumphi, Malawi; 

R. Stjernstedt, P.O. Box RW 60, Lusaka, Zambia. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Recent additions to the Zambian List 

by R. J. Dowsett 

Received 13 February 1979 

Benson et al. (1971) accepted the undoubted occurrence of 698 species in 
Zambia (excluding the now extinct Ostrich Struthio camelus). Subsequently, 
to the end of 1978, 18 species have been proven to occur in Zambia for the 
first time (and full details are awaited of at least 2 more species). In addition, 
confirmatory evidence has been obtained for 4 species whose occurrence was 
doubted, or at least not accepted unequivocally, by Benson et al. Most of 
these additional records have been documented, severally, in the Bulletin of 
the Zambian Ornithological Society (1969-78, Vols. 1-10). As this cyclostyled 
publication is not widely available outside Zambia, the following synthesis 
seems desirable. Unless stated otherwise, all specimens and copies of all 
photographs mentioned are held in the Livingstone Museum. 

Egretta vinaceigula Slaty Egret. First noticed at Blue Lagoon in the early 1960s 
(R. A. Critchley), and subsequently at Lochinvar, where I caught and ringed 2 on 9.x. 1969. 
At the time, vinaceigula was considered to be a colour phase of the Black Egret E. ardesiaca, 
and no mention was made of it by Benson et al. Subsequent to the reviews of its apparent 
specific status by Benson, Brooke & Irwin (1971) and Vernon (1971), it has been recognised 
at several localities in Zambia, from the Zambezi River north to the Bangweulu Swamps 
and Nchelenge District. Its distribution is considered in more detail by Dowsett (in press a), 
who shows that there are records for all months. There are specimens from Namwala 
District (J. F. R. Colebrook-Robjent) and Mongu District (T. O. Osborne), and several 
observers possess photographs from Lochinvar and Choma District. 

Gyps coprotheres Cape Vulture. Two adults were seen and photographed at Lochinvar 
on 8.x. 1 974 (T. O. Osborne, Sir Peter Scott, et al.). Lady Scott's photographs have been 
examined by P. J. Mundy, who {in litt.) confirms the identification. One was seen at Lochin- 
var on 26.V.1977 (G. P. Robinson et al.), and I have confirmed the identity from photo- 
graphs in Mr. Robinson's possession. Other Cape Vulture records have been claimed, but 
none has been documented satisfactorily. The Lochinvar birds were presumably non- 
breeding visitors. 

Hieraaetus pennatus Booted Eagle. Benson et al. (p. 68) mention 4 sight records. Sub- 
sequently, this Palaearctic migrant has been seen on numerous occasions by competent 
observers. At the end of Feb. 1978 there were 69 fully acceptable records, falling between 
2.x. and 28. iv., with additional sightings in August (1) and September (2). These latter, 
although in need of confirmation, are of interest in view of recent breeding records in South 
Africa, reviewed by Martin et al. (1978). A claimed breeding record for Zambia, of c/2 in a 
tree nest, on 6.iii. 1936 (Cottrell 1938) is not acceptable, unless the eggs can be re-examined 
and proved to belong to this species. Most Zambian sightings are from the south and east, 
but this may be an artefact. There are still neither specimens nor photographs, but some 
individuals have been watched very closely, and there can be no reason for excluding the 
Booted Eagle from the Zambian List. 

95 {Bull B.O.C. i979:j9<ti\ 

Aquila nipalensis Steppe Eagle. Several sight records of this Palaearctic migrant were 
mentioned by Benson et al. (p. 69), and many have been seen by competent observers 
subsequently. Extreme dates of acceptable sightings are 29. ix. and 9-iv., most falling 
between mid-Oct and mid-Mar. I collected 2 specimens at Lochinvar in Nov 1970 (Brooke 
et al. 1972), and have photographed others there. 

Vanellus superciliosus Brown-chested Wattled Plover. Up to 3 were well seen at Mwini- 
lunga on 1-2.X.78 (P. St. J. Bowen). This intra-African migrant was to be expected in the 
extreme northwest of Zambia, in view of a specimen taken 13.x. at Kasaji in the Shaba 
Province of Zaire (Schouteden 1971). 

Pluvialis dominicus Eastern Golden Plover. One was seen and photographed at Kafubu 
Dam, near Ndola, 30.x.-5.xi.i972 (S. G. Madge, G. P. Robinson, et al.), and one was seen 
at the same place 4.xi.i973 (C. Carter, D. K. Richards). Two at Lusaka, 22-23.X.1975 were 
both collected (D. R. Aspinwall). At Lochinvar, Aspinwall reported 2 on 12. ii. 1977 and one 
on 16. x. 1977. Presumably these birds were on passage to and from non-breeding quarters 
on the southwestern coast of Africa (Dowsett in press b). Unfortunately it is not possible 
to allocate the Lusaka specimens to subspecies with any degree of certainty. 

Charadrius leschenaultii Great Sandplover. One was seen and photographed near 
Kafue town between 9 and 22.xi.1972 (D. R. Aspinwall, R. J. Dowsett, etal.). One at Lusaka 
20-23.X.1975 was collected (Aspinwall). Singles have also been seen at Blue Lagoon, 
25.ix.-3.x.i976 (Aspinwall, Dowsett, et al.), Kafubu Dam, 8-10. xi. 1976 (P. B. Taylor) and 
Mwinilunga, 27.xi.1978 (P. St. J. Bowen). This Palaearctic migrant may be annual on 
passage to non-breeding quarters in coastal southwestern Africa (Dowsett in press b). 

Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit. In the northern winter of 1972/73 there were 4 sight- 
ings of this species in Zambia. At Lochinvar a party of 10 was reported 24.ix.1972 (D. K. 
Richards, G. P. Robinson, et al) and a single was there i.i.1973 (R. J. Douthwaite, J. J. 
Tucker). At Lusaka one was present 20.1.-4.11.1973 (H. Hallen, et al.), and excellent photo- 
graphs were obtained by I. C. Tanner. One at Luanshya n-18.iii.1973 (M. I. Meadows, 
E>. K. Richards, et al.) was reportedly also photographed. A few records have been claimed 
subsequently, but only one is completely acceptable, a single bird seen by D. K. Richards 
at Luanshya, 23.xii.1973. 

Unlike the Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica - which winters on the African coasts, and 
ought to occur annually on passage across Zambia - all Black-tailed Godwits in Africa are 
normally inland, north of the equator. It is tempting to correlate these southern occurrences 
with similarly abnormal numbers of Garganey Anas querquedula in Zambia in 1972/73, 
except that even larger numbers of this duck were reported in 1973/74 (see footnote to 
Irwin 1974). Clark et al. (1974) mention records of Black-tailed Godwit even further south 
in 1972/73, from Botswana, Rhodesia and 2 localities in the Transvaal of South Africa, 
clearly part of the movement observed in Zambia. (Incidentally, they erroneously credit 
both Lochinvar records to A. J. Tree, instead of to the observers mentioned above.) There 
were further records in the Transvaal through to June 1975 (Skead & Dean 1977). Birds 
at both Transvaal localities in 1972/73 stayed throughout the breeding season, and so 
1973/74 records may be of birds left over from the previous year. 

Gallinago gallinago Common Snipe. There have been no observations subsequent to 
those resuscitated by Button (1973), but it is likely this species is overlooked in northern 

Calidris temminckii TemminchCs Stint. Early in 1977 this species was seen at 3 localities 
in Zambia. Three birds were near Mazabuka on 5.1.1977 (S. Brogger-Jensen), one near 
Ndola 6 and (P. B. Taylor) and one at Kitwe (E. H. Penry). The Ndola bird was 
photographed. As with the Black-tailed Godwit, this species normally spends the non- 
breeding season inland in Africa, north of the equator. 

Limicola falcinellus Broad-billed Sandpiper. One was well seen and photographed at 
Mufulira, 1-2.xi.1975 (G. P. Robinson, et al.). It might be expected that very small numbers 
cross Zambia annually, on passage to the southwestern coast (Dowsett in press b). 

Schoutedenapus myoptilus Scarce Swift. Benson et al. (p. 147) refer to 2 sight records 
from the Nyika Plateau. It has subsequently been found commonly there and is probably 
resident, there being records for most months of the year. It has also been reported from 
the Mafinga Mountains. Fuller details of these records are given by Dowsett & Dowsett- 

{Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(3)] 


Bycanistes brevis Silvery-cheeked Hornbill . In the Nyikamwaka area (io° 10' S, 33 28' E) 
at least 2 were well seen on 18-19. v.1975 (T- O. Osborne). In Dec 1976 birds were seen in 
the Mafinga Mountains and on the Zambian side of the Nyika Plateau by D. R. Aspinwall. 
The status of this unmistakeable bird is uncertain, but it appeared to be absent from the 
Nyika in Dec 1975 and 1977 (R. J. Dowsett & F. Lemaire). With the exception of a single 
sight record from the Malawi side of the Nyika in Oct 1973 (Dowsett 1974), numerous dry 
season visits to this area by many observers have produced no other reports. 

Lybius lacrymosus Spotted-flanked Barbet . Two were seen at Kawimbe in Mbala District 
(8° 50' S, 31 32' E) on 12.ii.1972 (R. Stjernstedt). Subsequently this species has been found 
locally not uncommon further south in the Chambeshi River valley to Mbesuma, at about 
io° S (D. R. Aspinwall, R. J. Dowsett, et a/.). A specimen that I collected at Mbesuma was 
kindly examined by M. P. Stuart Irwin, who allocated it to the race ruahae. 

This barbet is clearly resident in northern Zambia. The map in Fig. 1 is taken from the 
provisional draft of An Atlas of the Birds of Zambia (Dowsett in prep.), and shows the 

Figure i 

distribution of lacrymosus in relation to the other two barbets of the subgenus Tricholaema 
that are known from Zambia (the report of T. hirsutum near Lusaka by Ulfstrand & 
Alcrstam (1977) being based on a misidentification). It is clear that lacrymosus and frontatus 
have a wide geographical overlap, but they appear to be segregated ecologically (though 
they may occur within sight or sound of each other). Whereas lacrymosus occurs in evergreen 
thicket on termite hills in otherwise ^4^c/^-dominated areas, frontatus is a bird of deciduous 
miombo woodland. The possibility of hybridisation in areas of overlap cannot be ruled out, 
although it is likely that hybridisation between frontatus and leucomelas at Livingstone is a 
result of habitat degradation. 

97 [Bull. B.O.C. i 9 79: 99($\ 

Campethera caroli Brown-eared Woodpecker. Along the Jimbe Stream (io° 57' S, 24 
05' E) in northern Mwinilunga District, I collected a pair on 28.vii.1973. Subsequently, this 
evergreen forest species has proved to be resident there, and has been seen at other localities, 
south to the Isombu (Lisombo) Stream (C. Carter, P. B. Taylor). Benson et al. (p. 181), in 
suggesting that caroli might occur in Mwinilunga, gave it the name Buff-spotted, in con- 
fusion withC nivosa. 

Eremopterix leucopareia Fischer's Finch Lark. First reported from Zambia, at Lundazi, 
22-23. xii.1976 by D. R. Aspinwall. During Sep 1977 there appeared to be 20-30 pairs in 
the area, and they are possibly resident (D. Rafferty). 1 collected a $ there on 20.xii.1977, 
in non-breeding condition. Presumably this species is a recent arrival at Lundazi, where 
there has been much opening-up of the woodland for agriculture. Certainly one might have 
expected E. L. Button to find it when he resided there in the 1940s and 50s. On the other 
hand, the possibility of a seasonal movement from elsewhere cannot yet be ruled out, the 
evidence for such movements in Malawi being suggested by Benson & Benson (1977). 

Hirundo spilodera South African Cliff Swalloiv. Diagnostic views were obtained of one on 
Chitunta Plain, Mwinilunga District, 13.xi.1978 (R. J. Dowsett). This is an intra- African 
migrant, most of which possibly travel between South Africa and the lower Congo basin 
to the west of Zambia. First birds arrive back on breeding grounds in the Transvaal in 
early August (Skead & Dean 1977), but the apparent lateness of the Chitunta bird is matched 
by some Zambian records of Greater Striped Swallow H. cucullata, a species which seems 
to have a similar migration. 

Phyllastrephus placidus Olive Mountain Bulbul. This montane species was first found 
in the Mafinga Mountains in Aug 1971, when I collected specimens there at over 2000 m 
(Dowsett & Stjernstedt 1973). Since then, it has been found in this area down to about 
1800 m in riparian forest (D. R. Aspinwall). I have given elsewhere (Dowsett 1972) reasons 
for considering placidus a species distinct from P. cahanisi, and R. Stjernstedt (pers. comm.) 
has further evidence of vocal differences. 

The English name used above is that recommended by Dowsett & Stjernstedt (1973), and 
it appears much preferable to "Placid Bulbul" as used by Benson & Benson (1977) and 
others. It is a noisy species, and so "placid" seems meaningless. C. W. Benson {in lift.) tells 
me that Shelley's original description of Xenocichla placida offers no explanation for the use 
of this name. 

Sheppardia sharpei Sharpens Akalat. Benson et al. (1970: 51) suggested that this small 
montane forest robin was absent from the Zambian (western) side of the Nyika Plateau. 
However, it was found there in May and June 1974 by T. O. Osborne, and we now know 
that is is present in several forest patches, being especially numerous in Manyenjere forest. 
In Dec 1977, F. Lemaire and I found at least 4 $$ in Manyenjere singing within sound of 
each other. They favour areas of thick under-scrub inside the forest, and are thus patchily 
distributed. Osborne collected a specimen, and in Dec 1975 I caught and ringed 3 birds, 
2 of them juvenals from eggs laid the previous month. Prior to discovery on the Nyika, this 
akalat was found in the Mafinga Mountains on 30.viii.1972 by D. R. Aspinwall (see post- 
script to Dowsett & Stjernstedt 1973). 

Hippolais olivetorum Olive-tree Warbler. This Palaearctic migrant has occurred in 
Zambia on at least 3 occasions. I collected a specimen at Lochinvar 27. xi. 1973, one was 
ringed and photographed at Lusaka 17.xii.1974 (J. J. Tucker, et al.) and I watched a 
singing bird at very close quarters near Mambova on 26.1.1975. In addition, 3 sight records 
by D. R. Aspinwall from Feira District are probably correct (one on 25. xi. 1973, 2 singles 
8.ii. 1975), but descriptions do not seem to rule out entirely the less likely possibility of 
Upcher's Warbler H. languida. It is not surprising that small numbers should occur on 
passage, with some apparently wintering in Acacia country in southern Zambia. 

Phylloscopus ruficapilla Yellow-throated Warbler. Specimens were collected in the 
Mafinga Mountains in Aug 1971 (Dowsett & Stjernstedt 1973). This is still the only area 
from which this montane species is known in Zambia. It is conspicuous in forests on the 
Malawi side of the Nyika Plateau, on the eastern escarpment, but is apparently/ or no 
obvious reason, absent from the Zambian side. 

Platysteira castanea Chestnut Wattle-eye. This monarchine flycatcher was found in 
riparian forest at 2 neighbouring localities in the extreme north of Mwinilunga District on 
14.viii.1976 (D. R. Aspinwall). Birds of both sexes were seen on 3 occasions and their call 
tape-recorded. This is one of many species of the Congo forests which is at its southern 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 98 

limit in the north of Mwinilunga; several other species known from Kasaji, 90 km to the 
northwest in Zaire (Schouteden 1971), may in time be found in Zambia. 

Acknowledgements: I am very grateful to the observers mentioned above for details of their 
records, and to those referees who have examined and criticised specimens and field descrip- 
tions. Mr. C. W. Benson has kindly commented on a draft of this paper. 


Benson, C. W. & Benson, F. M. 1977. The Birds of Malawi. Limbe: D. W. K. Macpherson 

Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K., Dowsett, R. J. & Irwin, M. P. S. 1970. Notes on the birds 

of Zambia. Arnoldia (Rhod.) 4(40) : 5 9 pp. 

— 1971- The Birds of Zambia. London : Collins. 

Benson, C. W., Brooke, R. K. & Irwin, M. P. S. 1971. The Slatey Egret Egretta vinaceigula 

is a good species. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 91 : 131-133. 
Brooke, R. K., Grobler, J. H., Irwin, M. P. S. & Steyn, P. 1972. A study of the migratory 

eagles Aquila nipalensis and A. pomarina (Aves: Accipitridae) in southern Africa, with 

comparative notes on other large raptors. Occ. Pap. Natn. Mus. Rhod. 65(2) : 61-1 14. 
Button, E. L. 1973. The Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago in Zambia. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 

Clark, A., Madden, S. T. & Milstein, P. le S. 1974. Black-tailed Godwit influx. Bokmakierie 

26: 101. 
Cottrell, J. A. 1938. Nesting of the Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus. Ostrich 9 : 97-98. 
Dowsett, R. J. 1972. Is the bulbul Phyllastrephus placidus a good species? Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 

92: 132-138. 

— 1974. Some new bird distribution records for Malawi. Society of Malawi J nl. 27(2): 

— & Dowsett-Lemaire, F. 1978. The voice of the Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus. 
Scopus 2: 51-52. 

— & Stjernstedt, R. 1973. The birds of the Mafinga Mountains. ThePukwj: 107-123. 
Dowsett, R. J. in press a. Breeding and other observations on the Slaty Egret Egretta 

vinaceigula. Bull. Brit . Orn. CI. 

— in press b. Migration across the continent of Africa by coastal waders. Le Gerfaut. 
Irwin, M. P. S. 1974. The Pintail Anas acuta in Rhodesia. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 94: 56-57. 
Martin, J., Martin, E. & Martin, R. 1978. Booted Eagles breeding in the north-eastern Cape. 

Bokmakierie 30 : 48-5 1 . 
Schouteden, H. 1 971. La Faune Ornithologique de la Province du Katanga. Mus. Roy. PAfr. 

Centr.,Doc. Zool. no. 17 : 248 pp. 
Skead, D. M. & Dean, W. R. J. 1977. Status of the Barberspan avifauna, 1971-75. Ostrich 

Supp. 12: 3-42. 
Ulfstrand, S. & Alerstam, T. 1977. Bird communities of Brachystegia and Acacia woodlands 

in Zambia./. Orn. 118: 156-174. 
Vernon, C. J. 1971. Observations onEgretta vinaceigula. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 91 : 157-159. 

Address: R. J. Dowsett, Livingstone Museum, P.O. Box 498, Livingstone, Zambia. 
Present address: Nyika National Park, Private Bag Chilinda, P.O. Rumphi, Malawi. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

Moult of the Long-billed Ringed Plover 

Charadrius placidus 

by R.C. Taylor 

Received 27 February 1979 
The Long-billed Ringed Plover Charadrius placidus is a little studied eastern 
Palaearctic wader which breeds from the Middle Amur valley south through 
Manchuria and China to Japan, and possibly in Tibet (Vaurie 1965, 1972). 
Mainly it breeds inland on the shores of lakes and rivers, but has been report- 
ed breeding to a height of c 1000 m in Japan (Austin & Kuroda 1953). 


{Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(3)] 

In winter, the northern breeding populations move south and become 
partially synheimic with the resident southern populations, being recorded 
as far south as Vietnam (Waldash 1968) and Thailand (Jorgensen 1949), and 
as far west as Nepal (Ali & Ripley 1969). 

The plumage of C. placidus is described fully by Kozlova (1961) but it has 
improperly been considered to resemble C. hiaticula (e.g. Dement'ev et al. 
1969) though it differs in having bright cinnamon tips to the body feathers in 
















OT 70- 

. tWJ-f WAX. V6QL 









•— • 

Mfef , , , o,, 


— r-©- 

M J J A 

S O N D 

Fig. i. Body moult scores of Charadrius placidus. Closed circles = southern resident birds; 
open circles=northern migratory birds. For method of scoring see text. 

o 1 

o o cm 

• • • 



• » e 


Fig. 2. Primary abrasion scores of Charadrius placidus. Symbols as in Fig. 1. For method of 
scoring see text. 

fresh plumage Kozlova (1961) provides a qualitative, but incomplete, 
description of the moult. No quantitative descriptions of the moult have 
been published. 

During a study of geographical variation in several Charadrius species 
(Taylor 1978) it was possible to investigate the timing of moult in C. placidus 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 100 

using dated museum specimens, of which 45 adequately labelled individual 
skins were borrowed from the British Museum (Natural History) and the 
University of California (Berkeley). The extent of body moult was roughly 
quantified using a scoring system similar to that devised by Ferns (1978) for 
some Arctic waders. A 5 -point scale (all old=o, beginning of moult=io, 
moderate moult =20, heavy moult =30, all new =40) was used to quantify 
the degree of moult in 4 regions of the body (coronal region of the capital 
tract, interscapular region of the dorsal tract, cervical and sternal regions of 
the ventral tract). Only a single bird in active primary moult was available, 
so a 3-point scale (new=o, moderately abraded=i, extensively abraded =2) 
was used to quantify the physical condition of the primaries in order to give 
some indication of the timing of primary moult. 

The 45 specimens could be divided into 2 groups on the basis of their size 
and the date and locality of capture: 22 were considered to belong to northern 
migratory populations and 23 to southern sedentary populations. In view of 
geographical differences in the timing of moult observed in other species of 
waders (e.g. Holmes 1971) the 2 samples were analysed separately. 

The pattern of body moult does not appear to be significantly different in 
the two groups (Fig. 1), although the paucity of specimens for the migratory 
group between March and September precludes any further comparison. 
There was no clear indication of a pre-alternate moult (terminology according 
to Humphrey & Parkes 1959); however, Kozlova (1961) reports a partial 
moult starting in January and ending in April, and although no active moult 
was observed in my series, the lack of abrasion of feathers in the loral, malar 
and cervical regions of specimens collected in January and February supports 
her observations. 

The prebasic body moult begins in May and June and continues through 
to September, being generally complete by October in some birds, though 
continuing until December in others. Kozlova (1961) was unable to follow 
the timing of the prebasic moult due to lack of specimens, but considered 
that it began in early July, rather later than indicated by this study. 

The prebasic moult of the primaries begins in August and continues until 
October in the southern populations. It may begin slightly later in the 
migratory populations (Fig. 2). One bird, considered to belong to the 
southern resident populations, in active primary moult, was collected in the 
Yangtse Valley, China, on 18 September. It had replaced all but the outer 
3 primaries. 


The energy expenditure involved in feather replacement (King & Farner 
1 961) is such that moult is not usually simultaneous with periods of high 
energy expenditure such as reproduction and migration, and wading birds 
have adopted 3 strategies to help minimise any overlap. Holmes (1971) has 
shown that Arctic Calidris species either complete the prebasic moult whilst 
on, or near, the breeding grounds, or moult upon reaching their winter 
quarters, or beginning the moult on the breeding grounds arrest it during or 
prior to migration and complete it upon arrival in the winter quarters. 
Different populations of the same species adopt different strategies depending 
upon the conditions in the localities in which they breed and winter. 

ioi [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

There is no evidence from this study to show that there is any difference 
between the northern and southern populations in the timing of the prebasic 
body moult, and data are insufficient for drawing any conclusions regarding 
the pre-alternate moult. 

The present data suggest that the prebasic primary moult of the adults may 
begin slightly later, possibly by about one month, in the northern popula- 
tions. From the small amount of data on the breeding biology available, it 
appears that the southern populations begin breeding in mid-March (Austin 
& Kuroda 1953), whilst the northern populations do not arrive on their 
breeding grounds until the end of March (Kozlova 1961). If the length of 
breeding season is the same in both populations (no data are available on 
incubation periods), it is possible that the southern populations will finish 
breeding about one month before the northern populations; and if moult 
only then ensues, the start of the primary moult would be expected also to be 
one month apart. 

There is some evidence from the primary moult data (Fig. 2) that the 
duration of this moult may be shorter in the northern migratory populations. 
The primary feather abrasion scores indicate an extension of the moult into 
the winter period in the southern populations, whereas it may finish before 
arrival in the winter quarters for the northern populations. This is similar to 
the situation found in several other species of migratory waders, where the 
migrant populations generally have more rapid moults than resident pop- 
ulations (Pienkowski £/ al. 1976). 

The prebasic body moult in the northern populations begins before the 
birds leave the breeding grounds, and its duration (August to December) is 
such that it almost certainly occurs simultaneously with migration, which is 
not unusual (Ferns 1978). 

The timing and duration of moult in C. placidus is probably closely 
synchronized with the timing of other annual activities, but is probably 
different in the northern and southern populations. Considerably more field 
data are needed before firm conclusions can be reached. 

Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Mr. I. C. J. Galbraith, British Museum (Natural 
History) and to Dr. N. K. Johnson, University of California, Berkeley, for the loan of 
specimens. My thanks are also due to Dr. W. G. Hale and the late Captain C. Pitman for 
commenting upon an earlier draft. The research was financed by a grant from the Science 
Research Council. 

References : 

AH, S. & Ripley, S. D. 1969. Handbook of 'the Birds of 'India and Pakistan, Vol. 2. Oxford Uni- 
versity Press. 

Austin, O. L. & Kuroda, N. 1953. The birds of Japan, their status and distribution. Bull. 
Mus.C0n1p.Z00LH.arv. 109: 277-637. 

Dement'ev, G. P., Gladkov, N. A. & Spangenberg, E. P. 1969. Birds of the Soviet Union. 
Vol. 3. Israel Program for Scientific Translations: Jerusalem. 

Ferns, P. N. 1978. The onset of prebasic body moult during the breeding season in some 
high-Arctic waders. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 98 : 1 18-122. 

Holmes, R. T. 1971. Latitudinal differences in the breeding and molt schedules of Alaskan 
Red-backed Sandpipers. Condor 73 : 93-99. 

Humphrey, P. S. & Parkes, K. C. 1959. An approach to the study of molts and plumages. 
AukjG: 1-3 1. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 102 

Jorgensen, A. 1949. Siams Vadefugle. IV. Charadriidae (Scolopacinae, Recurvirostrinae), 

Rostratulidae, Jacanidae; Supplement, Literatur. Dansk Orn. Foren. Tidsskr. 43: 

King, J. K. &c Farner, D. S. 1961. Energy metabolism, thermoregulation and body 

temperature. In A. J. Marshall (ed.) Biology and Comparative Physiology of Birds. Vol. 2: 

215-288. Academic Press : London. 
Kozlova, E. V. 1961. The Fauna of the U.S.S.R. Vol. 1. Academy of Sciences U.S.S.R. : 

Pienkowski, M. W., Knight, P. J., Stanyard, D. J. & Argyle, F. D. 1976. The primary 

moult of waders on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Ibis. 118: 347-365. 
Taylor, R. C. 1978. Geographical variation in wading birds with reference to the Ringed 

Plover (Charadrius hiaticula L.) and related species. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, Liverpool 

Vaurie, C. 1965. The Birds of the Palearctic Fauna. Non-passeriformes. Witherby: London. 
Vaurie, C. 1972. Tibet and its Birds. Witherby: London. 
Waldash, P. 1968. Birds of South Vietnam. Charles E. Tuttle Co: Rutland, Vt. 

Address: Dr. R. C. Taylor, Department of Biology, Liverpool Polytechnic, Byrom Street, 

Liverpool L3 3AF. 
Present address: 38 Marriott Road, Sheffield S7 2QH. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

Clutch sizes of Seychelles' endemic land birds 

by J. Watson 

Received 1 March 1979 
This note combines recent published information on clutch sizes of Sey- 
chelles' endemic land birds with substantial new data, correcting erroneous 
statements that have occurred in the literature for several species, especially 
the Kestrel Falco araea, Magpie Robin Copsychus sechellarum and Paradise 
Flycatcher Terpsiphone corvina, while for several others little, i f anything, has 
been published. New information presented here has been collected during 
3 years field research (1975-78) on a number of Seychelles' land birds. Table 1 
summarises the information presented below for each of the 11 endemic 

Falco araea Loustau-Lalanne (1962) states that the Seychelles Kestrel 
lays a C/2 and Penny (1974) mentions C/i or C/2. However, in 1975, 24 
complete clutches were observed, 17 of 3 eggs and 7 of 2 eggs; a similar 
pattern was observed in 1976 but in 1977 there were more clutches of 2 than 
3 (Watson in prep.). 

Alectroenas pulcherrima Penny (1974) states that the clutch of the 
Blue Pigeon can be either one or 2, though he gives no authority for this 
statement. Vesey-Fitzgerald (1940) described a nest with one egg and this 
appears to be the only published record. During the 3 years 1975-77, 9 nests 
were located, 5 containing one egg and the remainder each held a single 
chick (pers. obs.). C/i, therefore, seems to be usual for this species. 

Otus insularis The Scops Owl is the least known of all Seychelles' 
endemic birds and remains the only species whose nest has yet to be found. 
There is no published information on breeding but, during 1975-77 on 
Mahe, 3 different pairs of adults were observed with recently fledged young; 

io 3 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

in each case only one young bird was involved. C. J. Feare (pers. comm.), in 
1978, observed a group of 3 birds, 2 adults and one (presumed) youngster. 
For this species, it therefore seems likely that the clutch is small, perhaps only 
a single egg. 

Collocalia (francica) elaphra The colonial nesting site of the Cave 
Swiftlet was first discovered as recently as 1970 (Procter 1972). Four nests in 
the original description contained one egg. Between July 1977 and 1978 this 
colony on La Digue was visited at monthly intervals; 43 nests with eggs 
were observed and 42 of these held C/i (pers. obs.). The exceptional nest 
contained C/2 but there was a distinct possibility that two females had laid 
in the same nest; when visited one month later the nest held one chick. 

Table i 
Clutch sizes of Seychelles land birds 

Falco araea 

Alectroenas pulcherrima 

Otus insularis 

Collocalia {francica) elaphra 

Hypsipetes crassirostris 

Copsychus sechellarum 
Bebrornis sechellensis 
Terpsiphone corvina 
Nectarinia dussumieri 
Zosterops modesta 
Foudia sechellarum 

*Clutch size given here differs from previously published information, mostly in Penny 
* *There has been no previously published figure for clutch size in these species 
( ) Bracketed figures indicate that more data are needed on these species 

Clutch Size 


2 or 3 * 

Numbers of C/2 and C/3 vary from year to 



More data needed to confirm absence of 

2-egg clutches 


Based only on numbers of fledged young 


One clutch of 2 is attributed to 2 different 


(1 or 2)* 

Data from a nest and fledged young are 



May occasionally lay C/2 

1 or 2 

C/2 is much less frequent 


Invariably, at least in recent years 




Based only on one nest and 2 fledged broods 

1 or 2* 

C/i occurs less frequently 

Hypsipetes crassirostris A nest of this bulbul, mentioned by Vesey- 
Fitzgerald (1940), contained 2 eggs. This is the only documented clutch. 
Greig-Smith (in press, a) mentions a sample of immature birds seen in 
association with adults; 92 instances were of single young birds, 7 were of 
groups of 2 and one was of a group of 3. It seems possible that C/i may be 
more usual than C/2, though clearly more data are needed. 

Copsychus sechellarum According to Vesey-Fitzgerald (1940), the eggs 
are "said to be two in number", but evidently he did not locate a clutch 
himself. Loustau-Lalanne (1962) also gives C/2, but his evidence was based 
on only one nest. Penny (1974), without adding any new data, states simply 
that "the clutch is usually two". However, during 12 months research on 
Fregate (July 1977-78), 12 nests were found and all contained one egg; a 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 104 

further 8 were first visited when they had young, in each case a single chick 
(Watson 1978). It seems therefore that C/i is normal, although it is possible 
that a situation exists comparable to the Brush Warbler Bebrornis sechellensis 
(see below). 

Bebrornis sechellensis The Brush Warbler has been studied intensively 
by Diamond (in prep.) who has found C/i to be usual, but that occasionally 
most pairs in the population will, simultaneously, lay C/2. It is probable that 
this reflects exceptional food availability. Gaymer et al. (1969) make no 
mention of clutch size in this species but Penny (1974) agrees that one egg 
is usual though 2 sometimes occur. 

Terpsiphone corvina Gaymer et al. (1969) give a figure of "one or 2 
eggs, possibly sometimes 3". Penny (1974) is more conservative, stating that 
the clutch is "one or occasionally 2". However Fraser (1972) gives details of 
4 nests, all with one egg and A. Niol (pers. comm.) has never, in 8 years 
spent studying this species on La Digue, recorded a clutch other than one. 
J. W. and A. Niol documented the complete breeding history of 65 nests on 
La Digue 1977-78 and all held C/i (Watson & Niol in prep.). 

Nectarlnia dussumieri The nest of this sunbird, containing one egg, was 
the first nest to be described from these islands (Newton 1867). Williams 
(1953) refers to "a number of nests" all of which held a single nestling, 
concluding that the full clutch was one. Gaymer et al. (1969) and Penny 
(1974) add no new information but Greig-Smith (in prep.) recorded C/i in 
all the nests he observed. In 1977-78 on Fregate, 5 nests were examined 
during incubation and all contained one egg (pers. obs.). 

Zosterops modesta Gaymer et al. (1969) stated that nothing was then 
known of the breeding of the Grey White-eye and Penny (1974) stressed 
again that its nest had not been seen. Feare (1975) did locate a nest in 1973, 
though no eggs were laid on that occasion. It was not until October 1976 
that the eggs were first seen, the completed clutch being 2 (Greig-Smith in 
press b). This and the following observations tentatively suggest that C/2 
may be usual for this species. A fledged brood of 2 was observed in the same 
area as the above nest in March 1976 and, following the failure of the 
October attempt, a successful nest in November 1976 again gave rise to 2 
fledglings (pers. obs.). 

Foudia sechellarum For this fody Crook (1961) gives 66 clutches, 1 5 with 
one egg and 5 1 with 2. Penny (1974) however, without giving an authority, 
says that "the clutch is 2 or 3". Data from Crook's (1961) intensive study are 
likely to be more reliable. 

Clearly, to provide a more complete picture, information is still needed for 
a number of these species, particularly H. crassirostris, O. insularis and Z. 
modesta. There will be no great difficulty in obtaining data for H. crassirostris, 
which occurs abundantly on 4 of the islands. However, for the other 2 
species, attempts to learn more about their breeding biology will always be 
hampered by their rarity and restricted ranges ; both have very small popula- 
tions confined to high altitude forest on Mahe. 

105 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to Dr. C. J. Feare, Dr. W. R. P. Bourne and B. J. 
Trowbridge for constructive comments on an earlier draft. Work in Seychelles was super- 
vised by Professor G. M. Dunnet and supported initially by a Natural Environment 
Research Council Studentship and latterly by the World Wildlife Fund. P. W. Greig-Smith 
kindly sent me pre-publication drafts of his papers on the sunbird, bulbul and white-eye. 

References : 

Crook, J. H. 1961. The fodies of the Seychelles Islands. Ibis 103a: 5 17-548. 

Feare, C. f. 1975. Observations on the Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modesta. Auk 92: 

Fraser, W. 1972. Notes on Terpsiphone corvina. Ibis 114: 399-401. 
Gaymer, R., Blackman, R. A. A., Dawson, P. G., Penny, M. & Penny, C. M. 1969. The 

endemic birds of Seychelles. Ibis 1 1 1 : 1 57-176. 
Greig-Smith, P. W. (in press a). Notes on the biology of the Seychelles bulbul. Ostrich. 
Greig-Smith, P. W. (in press b). Observations on the nesting and group behaviour of the 

Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modesta. Ibis. 
Loustau-Lalanne, P. 1962. Land birds of the granitic islands of the Seychelles. Occ. Pubis. 

Seychelles Soc. 1:32 pp. 
Newton, E. 1 867. On the land-birds of the Seychelles Archipelago. Ibis (2) 3 : 335-360. 
Penny, M. 1974. The birds of the Seychelles and the outlying islands. Collins : London. 
Procter, J. 1972. The nest and the identity of the Seychelles swiftlet Collocalia. Ibis 114: 

Vesey-Fitzgerald, D. 1940. The birds of the Seychelles - 1. The endemic birds. Ibis (14) 4: 

Watson, J. 1978. The Seychelles Magpie Robin Copsychus sechellarum. Report on World 

Wildlife Fund project 1 590. 63 pp. 
Williams, J. G. 1953. On the status of the Seychelles Sunbirds Cyanomitra dussumieri and 

C. mahei. Ibiscf) : 545-546. 

Present Address: J. Watson, University of Aberdeen, Culterty Field Station, Newburgh, 
by Ellon, Aberdeenshire, AB4 oAA, Scotland. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

A new subspecies of the Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis, 
from the Island of Hawaii 

by H. Douglas Pratt 

Received 19 March 1979 

The Elepaio Chasiempis sandwichensis, a monarchine flycatcher endemic to the 
Hawaiian Islands, exhibits a wide range of plumage variation. Early natur- 
alists designated as many as 5 species (Stejneger 1887), but soon the fact that 
some of these represented females or immatures became apparent. Wilson & 
Evans (1890-99), Rothschild (1893-1900), Henshaw (1902), Perkins (1903), 
and MacCaughey (19 19) recognized 3 species: C. sclateri of Kauai, C. gayi of 
Oahu and C. sandwichensis of Hawaii. Bryan & Greenway (1944) and most 
subsequent authors considered these forms conspecific. The Kauai and 
Oahu Elepaios exhibit little variation, but those from Hawaii are highly 
variable. The extent of this intra-island variation is apparent from the figures 
presented by Wilson & Evans (1890-99) and Rothschild (1 893-1900). 

Henshaw (1902) was the first to examine intra-island variation in Chasiempis. 
He concluded that 2 subspecies could be defined on Hawaii, the nominate 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 106 

form occurring in the drier parts of the island, with a darker form, C. 
sandwichensis ridgwaji, found in the wet windward forests north and south of 
Hilo. Neither of these taxa is represented by a holotype, but Henshaw (1902) 
considered the type locality of C. s. sandwichensis to be Kealakekua Bay in 
Kona. No locality was designated for C. s. ridgwaji, and the name was based 
on a colour plate presented by Sclater (1885). Subsequent authors synony- 
mized these races and generally ignored the intra-island variation of C. 
sandwichensis on Hawaii. 

As part of a general systematic review of Hawaiian birds (Pratt 1979), I 
have re-examined Henshaw's specimens and compared them with others 
from most of the range of the Elepaio on Hawaii. I found that not only are 
Henshaw's subspecies valid, but a third recognizable form occurs on the 
high leeward slope of Mauna Kea, a part of the island not visited by earlier 
collectors. The details of this intra-island subspeciation will be published as 
part of the above-mentioned monograph, and in order that a name will be 
available for use in that discussion, I offer the following description (capital- 
ized colour names from Smithe 1975) of the Mauna Kea population which 
may be called 

Chasiempis sandwichensis bryani subsp. nov. 

Type. Adult 6*, collected 27 August 1976 by H. Douglas Pratt (original 
number 545) at Puu Laau, Hamakua District, Hawaii County, Hawaii, 
elevation c. 1950 m. No. 81725, Louisiana State University Museum of 

Diagnosis. Palest and greyest of all forms of Chasiempis sandwichensis on the 
island of Hawaii. Head devoid of rufescent colouration; forehead, lores, 
malar region, superciliary line, and partial collar pure white; crown and nape 
Brownish Olive; auriculars and back Olive-Brown; breast streaks Antique 

Females differ from males in having more extensive white in the throat, 
bordered posteriorly by a dusky band; having more white in the head 
region; and in having paler breast streaks. 

Immatures resemble those of other subspecies on the island but are paler 
on the forehead, crown, and nape. 

Measurements. (Holotype, followed by mean ^standard deviation and range 
of paratype series, mm) wing chord 75, 75± 2 -7> 72-79; tail 68, 65^3.4, 
60-69; exposed culmen 12.9, 12.1^0.5, 10. 9-12. 9; bill width 6.1, 6.i£o.2, 

Paratypic variation. One <$ has a tinge of rufous along the upper border of 
the white superciliary line and forehead, with the crown dark reddish Amber. 
Six $ $ have an Amber tinge to the breast streaks. One $ has a slight 
rufous tinge to the facial colouration. 

Range. This subspecies appears to be presently confined to the mamane-naio 
forest of leeward Mauna Kea above about 1800 m. Its distribution probably 
coincides with that of the Pallia Loxioides bailleui (van Riper et al. 1978). 
Several older specimens from lower elevations where Elepaios no longer 
occur appear to be referable to this subspecies. 

io 7 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979- 99(3)] 

Specimens examined. Seven adult $$, 14 adult <$$, and 2 immatures of 
unknown sex, all from the type locality. 

Etymology. I am pleased to name this subspecies in honour of Edwin Pi- 
Bryan, Jr., of the Pacific Scientific Information Center, Bernice P. Bishop 
Museum, Honolulu. He has not only made valuable original contributions to 
biological studies in the Pacific, but has also provided information and 
assistance to several generations of other scientists including the author. 

Henshaw's (1902) diagnosis of C. s. ridgwayi is sufficient to distinguish it 
from C. s. bryani, but his description of the nominate race could be mis- 
interpreted. His series includes several specimens from the Kau District, far 
removed from the range of C. s. bryani, that are very close to the new sub- 
species in the colour of the pale areas of the head. He apparently based his 
diagnosis on these atypical specimens. The possibility exists that the Kau 
population represents another describable taxon, but more material must be 

Table i 

Plumage characters of the three subspecies of Chasiempis sandwichensis 
on the island of Hawaii 



C. s. sandwichensis 

C. s. ridgwayi 

C. s. bryani 

Colour of breast 

Amber 1 

Chestnut to Amber 

pale Amber to 
Antique Brown 

Extent of breast 

variable, never 
without streaks 
across breast 

streaks tend to form 
solid colour band on 

no solid colour, 
streaks often on 
sides only 


Tawny to 

averages darker 
than sandwichensis 


Back colour 

or Antique Brown 

or darker 


Colour of pale 
feathers of 

usually white tinged 
Cinnamon- Rufous 
rarely white 

Chestnut/ Amber to 
never white 

pure white 

Crown colour 

Amber or 

dark reddish Amber 
or Amber 

Brownish Olive 

Colour of breast 

Cinnamon to Tawny 

averages darker 
than sandwichensis 

Tawny to Antique 

Extent of breast 


variable, often 
almost a solid colour 

dark streaks usually 
confined to sides 

Dorsal colour 

Antique Brown to 
almost Cinnamon 

dark Cinnamon- 
Brown to Antique 

between Olive-Brown 
and Cinnamon- 

Colour of pale 
feathers of 

Cinnamon to white 
tinged with 

dark Cinnamon- pure white 
Rufous to white 
tinged with Cinnamon 

Capitalized colour names from Smithe (1975). 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 108 

collected before the status of Elepaios from that area can be determined. 
Table 1 compares 6 plumage characters for males and 4 for females of the 3 
named subspecies of Chasiempis sandwichensis on the island of Hawaii. If the 
enigmatic Kau birds are ignored, the table can be used to identify almost all 

Acknowledgements: I wish to thank the following individuals and institutions for the loan 
of specimens: J. Farrand (American Museum of Natural History, New York), N. K. 
Johnson (Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley), S. L. Olson (National Museum of 
Natural History, Washington), and A. C. Ziegler (Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu). 
I thank David M. Woodside for assistance in obtaining collecting permits. J. V. Remsen 
and J. P. O'Neill read and commented on the manuscript. 

References : 

Bryan, E. H., Jr. & Greenway, J. C, Jr. 1944. Check-list of the birds of the Hawaiian 

Islands. i?#//. Mus. Comp. Zool. 94 : 92-140. 
Henshaw, H. W. 1902. The Elepaio of Hawaii. Auk 19: 221-232. 
MacCaughey, V. 1919. The Hawaiian Elepaio. Auk 36: 22-35. 
Perkins, R. C. L. 1903. Part IV. Vertebrata. In Sharpe (ed.), Fauna Hawaiiensis. University 

Press : Cambridge. 
Pratt, H. D. 1979. A Systematic Analysis of the Endemic Avifauna of the Hawaiian Islands. 

Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. 
Rothschild, W. 1893-1900. The Avifauna of Lays an and the Neighbouring Islands with a Com- 
plete History to Date of the Birds of the Hawaiian Possessions. R. H. Porter : London. 
Sclater, P. L. 1885. On the muscicapine genus Chasiempis. Ibis. Ser. 5(3): 17-19, Plate I. 
Smithe, F. B. 1975. Naturalist's color guide. Amer Mus. Nat. Hist, New York. 
Stejneger, L. 1887. Birds of Kauai Island, Hawaiian Archipelago, collected by Mr. Valdemar 

Knudsen, with descriptions of new species. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 10: 75-102. 
van Riper, C, Scott, J. M. & Woodside, D. M. 1978. Distribution and abundance patterns 

of the Palila on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Auk 95 : 5 18-527. 
Wilson, S. B. & Evans, A. H. 1890-99. Aves Hawaiiensis: the Birds of the Sandwich Islands. 

R. H. Porter: London. 

Address: H. Douglas Pratt, Museum of Zoology, Louisiana State University, Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana 70893, U.S.A. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

The correct name and authorship for 
Wallace's Standard Wing (Passeriformes, Paradiseidae) 

by David K. Mc Alpine 

Received 6 March 19/9 
The modern standard works on the birds of paradise (Gilliard 1969, Cooper 
& Forshaw 1977) give the name and authorship of Wallace's Standard Wing 
as Semioptera wallacei Gould, and Gilliard further (p. 126) attributes the 
epithet wallacei to "Gould 1859, Birds Australia Suppl., pi. 1 1 and text". 

Semioptera wallacei appears on pi. 5 2, not pi. 11, of the cited work by Gould 
in the sequence in which it was to be finally bound. Gould's supplement was 
issued in 5 parts over the period 1851-1869. PI. 52 was originally published 
in part 3 which appeared in September 1859, but the plate number 52 was 
apparently not designated until 1 869 when advice on the sequence for binding 
the previously issued plates was given with part 5 . 

io 9 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

Gould did not propose S. wallacei as a new species but referred to and 
quoted from an earlier published note by Gray (June 1 8 5 9) in the proceedings 
of a meeting of the Zoological Society of London held on 22 March 1859. 
Herein Gray gave some descriptive information on the bird, derived from a 
sketch sent by A. R. Wallace with an accompanying letter marked "Batchian, 
Moluccas, Oct 29, 1858", and proposed the specific name Paradisea wallacii 
(sic) and the subgeneric name Semioptera. 

Similar brief accounts of this Zoological Society meeting appeared even 
earlier in Ibis Ser. 1 (1): 210 (April 1859) and in The Literary Gazette No. 39 
(New Series): 406 (26 March 1859). As the Literary Gazette report includes 
the first publication of both subgeneric and specific names I quote the passage 
relating to the new bird of paradise in full : — 

"Mr. S. Stephens read an extract from a letter received by him from Mr. 
A. R. Wallace, dated Batchian, Moluccas, October 29, 1858, in which Mr. 
Wallace stated that he had the finest and most wonderful bird in the islands - 
a new bird of Paradise, of a new genus, quite unlike anything yet known. 
Mr. Wallace enclosed a rough sketch of the bird. Mr. G. R. Gray having had 
the above sketch placed in his hands for examination and comparison with 
the other known species of Paradiseae, agreed with Mr. Wallace that it is an 
entirely new form, differing from all its congeners, approaching most nearly 
to the king bird of Paradise, but in place of the lengthened caudal appen- 
dages, it has springing from the lesser coverts of each wing two long shafts, 
each being webbed with white on each side at the apex. The possession of 
these peculiar winged standards induced Mr. G. R. Gray to propose the 
subgeneric name of Semeioptera, and he further added the provisional specific 
name of Wallacei, in commemoration of the indefatigable energy Mr. Wallace 
had hitherto shown in the advancement of ornithological knowledge." 

It is now apparent that the original spellings are "Wallacei" for one of the 
"species of Paradiseae" (i.e. the species was placed in the genus Paradisea, 
here rendered in the plural to indicate the species collectively) and Semeioptera 
for the subgenus, and that the authorship of both is to be attributed to Gray 
(International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, Art. 50 (a) ). Because of the 
inclusion of descriptive statements the names cannot be dismissed as nomina 
nuda, though the publication has been generally ignored. 

The species must bear the name Semeioptera wallacei (Gray). The slight 
alteration in spelling should cause little inconvenience and is a better trans- 
literation from the Greek for standard-wing. The alternative spelling 
Semioptera is liable to misinterpretation as half- wing. The spellings Semioptera 
for the generic name and wallacii or wallaceii for the species epithet are 
incorrect subsequent spellings as defined by the International Code (Articles 
32 and 33). 

The generic name Paradisea Linne, 1758, has been commonly given as 
Paradisaea in modern literature. According to Neave (1940), who may have 
influenced other workers, the spelling Paradisaea dates from 1758, while 
Paradisea dates from Linne 1766. Iredale (1948: 175) has correctly pointed 
out that in the tenth edition of Sy sterna naturae, Linne (1758) used the spellings 
Paradisea on p. 83 and Paradisaea on p. no. It is thus a case of multiple 
original spellings and the spelling adopted by the first reviser is therefore to 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] no 

be used. In the twelfth edition of Sy sterna Naturae, Linne (1766: 117, 166) 
consistently used the spelling Paradisea and this spelling is to be accepted as 
correct. The family name based on this type-genus should be spelled Para- 

ements: I am indebted to Messrs. H. J. de S. Disney, W. Boles and W. Long- 
more for assistance in ascertaining the above facts, and to Dr. H. G. Cogger for advice. 

References : 

Cooper, W. T. & Forshaw, J. M. 1977. The Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds. Collins: Sydney. 
Gilliard, E. T. 1969. Birds of Paradise andBower Birds. Weidenfeld and Nicolson: London. 
Gould, J. 1859 (Sept.) TheBirds of Australia. Supplement 3 : pi. 52 with text. 
Gray, G. R. 1859a (March 26). Zoological Society (report of meeting). Lit. Ga%. 39 (New 
Series) : 406. 

— 1859b (April). (Footnote p. 210.) In XXII. - Letters, extracts . . . &c. Ibis Ser. 1(1): 

— 1859c (June). In (report of meeting) March 22nd, 1859. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 27: 

Iredale, T. 1948. A check list of the birds of paradise and bower birds. Aust. Zool. n: 

Linne, C. 1758. Sy sterna Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae ( 1 oth ed.) 1 . 

— 1766. Ibid. ( 1 2th ed.) 1 . 

Neave, S. A. 1940. Nomenclator Zoologicus, 3. Zoological Society, London. 

Address: D. K. McAlpine, The Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia. 
© British Ornithologists' Club 

Sula leucogaster and other species in the 
lies Mitsios, Madagascar 

by N. V. C. Polunin 

Received 16 March 1979 
The literature contains no mention of the lies Mitsios in northwest Mada- 
gascar as an important locality for sea-birds in the western Indian Ocean 
(Milon et al. 1973, Feare 1978, C. Jouanin, pers. comm.), but in July 1973 
while visiting these islands on board the yacht 'Marimba' I found two rocky 
islets to be inhabited by many sea-birds, most notable amongst which was a 
nesting population of the Brown Booby Sula leucogaster. These islands are 
therefore the only major sea-bird locality recorded in coastal waters off 
Madagascar. A set of colour transparencies of the islands and their bird 
populations is deposited at the Museum of Zoology, University of Cam- 

I visited the two islets, Behangovo (centred at 48 30' 33" E, 13 00' 01" S; 
maximum height 61 m) and Betalinjona (centred at 48 30' 00" E, 12 59' 04" 
S; maximum height 74 m) on 6 July 1973; these, together with two other 
rocks (Antsoha and Betaniazo) which are not colonised by sea-birds, con- 
stitute 'Les Quatres Freres', a group which lies some 32 km northeast of 
Nossi Be and approximately 35 km west of Port St. Louis, one of the nearest 
points on the mainland. Neither of the sea-bird colonised islets are easily 
accessible, for they are climbable only by a single tortuous gulley each on 
their northern sides. Behangovo was visited on the morning of 6 July 1973, 
and Betalinjona on the afternoon of the same day. 

in [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

Sula leucogaster was present and nesting in large numbers on both islets; 
eggs, and naked and downy young were seen. Approximately 100 adults 
were estimated to be present on Behangovo and some 250 on Betalinjona. 
On Betalinjona adults were also seen roosting on narrow ledges under the 
large overhang on the northern aspect of the islet, together with some 50 
Common Noddy Anous stolidus. The nearest reported population of Sula 
leucogaster is on the lies Glorieuses, but this has apparently become extinct in 
recent years (Benson et al. 1975). 

Both Fregata ariel and F. minor were present on the islets. A single large 
frigate was seen in the morning over Behangovo, but large numbers were 
observed gathering over the islet in the evening. Males of both F. ariel and 
F. minor were sighted at Betalinjona, and the numbers gathering over the 
rock in the evening were estimated at over 100 individuals; no young were 
seen and none of the males showed obvious gular sacs. 

The other conspicuous sea-bird at the rocks was Phaethon lepturus. There 
were 3 sightings at Behangovo, and at least one nest was occupied there at 
that time. At Betalinjona there were several sightings of flying birds, and 
there were nests present on the steep southern side of the islet. These records 
represent the first definite account of Sula leucogaster and of a large roosting 
population of Fregata spp. in coastal waters of Madagascar ; Phaethon lepturus 
and Anous stolidus have been reported previously to nest in the region (Milon 
et al. 1973). 

A few land-birds were also present on these islets. There were c. 30 
sightings of Foudia madagascariensis. A single youngish individual of Dicrurus 
forficatus was seen on Betalinjona, and at least 2 individuals of Cisticola 
cherina were present at Behangovo. Two individual Dryolimnas cuvieri were 
seen at Betalinjona, a dry rocky and sparsely vegetated habitat which does 
not seem to be typical of this species elsewhere in the region (Milon et al. 
1973, Benson et al. 1976). Two individuals, evidently a pair, of the common 
Falco newtoni were observed on Behangovo. 

Sula leucogaster has probably survived on Behangovo and Betalinjona 
because of the inaccessibility of these islets, but other factors, such as local 
taboos which are known to have existed on islands to the South until recent 
times (L. A. Mauge, pers. comm.) could have been important. 

Acknowledgements: I thank N. H. and G. Cornfield for their help in reaching the islands, 
and J. G. Frazier for his companionship and invaluable expertise whilst on them. This 
note was finally prepared thanks to the exhortations of C. W. Benson and C. J. Feare. 

References : 

Benson, C. W., Beamish, H. H., Jouanin, C, Salvan, J. and Watson, G. E. 1975. The 

birds of the lies Glorieuses. Atoll Res. Bull. 176: 1-34. 
Benson, C. W., Colebrook-Robjent, J. F. R. & Williams, A. 1976. Contribution a Porni- 

thologie de Madagascar. UOiseau et R.F.O. 46 : 103-1 34. 
Feare, C. J. 1978. The decline of booby (Sulidae) populations in the western Indian ocean. 

Biol.Conserv. 14: 295-305. 
Milon, P., Petter, J. -J. & Randrianasolo, G. 1973. Oiseaux. Faune de Madagascar. 

ORSTOM, Tananarive and CNRS, Paris. 

Address: Dr. N. V. C. Polunin, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 
3EJ, U.K. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

{Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 1 1 2 

Picathartes— another West African forest relict 
with probable Asian affinities 

by Storrs L. Olson 

Received 10 April 1979 
Sibley (1973) has reviewed the history of classification of Picathartes, a 
distinctive passerine genus consisting of 2 well-differentiated species, P. oreas 
and P. gymnocephalus, confined to the primary forests of western Africa. On 
the basis of additional egg-white protein data he reaffirmed his own previous 
conclusions (Sibley 1970), as well as those of Amadon(i943) and Delacour & 
Amadon (195 1), that Picathartes belongs in the large and ill-defined family 
Timaliidae and not with the Corvidae or Sturnidae as had sometimes been 
suggested previously. Accepting this, the problem remains of determining 
the nearest relative of Picathartes within the Timaliidae. 

Although he made note of Serle's (1952) observation that Picathartes bears 
a resemblance to the southeast Asian and Indonesian species Eupetes macro- 
cerus, Sibley (1973: 24) considered that this similarity was "almost certainly 
the result of convergence". Serle evidently had little confidence in his own 
insight and maintained that Picathartes was nevertheless probably related to 
the Corvidae. The egg-white protein data prompted Sibley (1973) to propose 
a particularly close relationship between Picathartes and the African timaliid 
Turdoides. It would seem that such a conclusion was influenced by zoogeo- 
graphic considerations and the fact that the only genera of Timaliidae 
analyzed by Sibley were Turdoides, Trichastoma and Pomatostomus — a sample 
which must be deemed inadequate for a proper assessment of relationships 
within this complex and quite possibly unnatural group of birds. (One may 
note in addition, that Sibley's egg-white protein results have recently been 
questioned on purely methodological grounds — Brush 1979.) 

I believe that Serle was probably more correct than be realized in proposing 
a relationship between Picathartes and Eupetes. Currently placed, in the genus 
Eupetes are the New Guinean species sometimes recognized as constituting 
a separate genus, Ptilorrhoa; for the present comparisons, however, I shall 
consider only Eupetes macrocerus, which is larger and more closely resembles 
Picathartes than do the New Guinean birds. Eupetes macrocerus and Picathartes 
have in common a similar build; long, strong tarsi; a long, well-developed 
tail; lax, decomposed plumage; and a long, slender neck. As in Picathartes, 
part of the head pattern in Eupetes macrocerus consists of bare skin, although 
this is a more restricted patch which extends along the sides of the neck. The 
long, slender bill of Eupetes macrocerus is more closely approximated by that of 
Picathartes oreas than by P. gymnocephala, and the pattern of the short, black 
velutinous feathers of the lores and cheeks of E. macrocerus is similar to the 
pattern of the dark portions of bare skin on the head of P. oreas. Both 
Eupetes macrocerus and the 2 species of Picathartes are terrestrial birds of 
primary forest and are noted for their speed and agility on the forest floor. 
This contrasts markedly with Turdoides, which is an arboreal, shrub-dwelling 
bird of more arid upland savannas. Furthermore, there is absolutely no 
resemblance in external appearance between Turdoides and Picathartes. 
Turdoides lacks any bare areas on the head or neck, the bill shape is different 

1 1 3 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 

the tarsi and tail are proportionately shorter, and there is no similarity between 
them in either plumage texture or pattern. The plumage pattern in both 
Picathartes and Eupeles consists of areas of uniform colouration without 
squamation or streaks as in most species of Turdoides. 

The fact that the ranges of Picathartes and Eupetes are widely separated in 
west Africa and southeast Asia, respectively, in no way militates against a 
presumption of relationship between these genera. Elsewhere (Olson 1973), 
I have pointed out several diverse groups of birds and mammals that show 
similar patterns of distribution. Some of the more striking examples among 
birds are as follows (African forms listed first in each pair): Tigriomis — 
Zonerodias, Afropavo — Pavo, Sarothrura — Kallicula, Phodilus prigoginei — P. 
badius, Verrauxia — Sasia, Pseudocalyptomena — Asian broadbills, Pseudochelidon 
eurystomina — P. sirintarae. These discontinuous patterns probably have their 
origins in Quaternary environmental deterioration of formerly forested 
areas between Africa and southeast Asia. It probably has not been often 
enough emphasized that many of the endemic elements of the West African 
forest fauna are relicts of once more generally distributed Old World groups, 
related survivors of which often persist in Southeast Asia as well. 

Although there seems to be no reason to contradict the placement of 
Picathartes in the Timaliidae, the suggestion that it is closely related to 
Turdoides is here considered unlikely. A closer relationship of Picathartes to 
Eupetes seems more reasonable on morphological grounds and is in accord 
with zoogeographic patterns observed in other avian taxa. This, of course, 
remains to be substantiated by detailed anatomical and behavioural studies, 
knowledge of Eupetes being particularly deficient because the genus has 
evidently excited less admiration and interest than has Picathartes. 

Acknowledgments: I am obliged to John Farrand, Jr., for his comments on the manuscript. 

References : 

Amadon, D. 1943. The genera of starlings and their relationships. Amer. Mus. Novit. 1247: 

Brush, A. H. 1979. Comparison of egg-white proteins: effect of electrophoretic conditions. 

Biochemical Systematic s and Ecology . 7: 155-165. 
Delacour, J. & Amadon, D. 195 1. The systematic position of Picathartes. Ibis 93: 60-62. 
Olson, S. L. 1973. A classification of the Rallidae. Wilson Bull. 85: 381-416. 
Serle, W. 1952. The affinities of the genus Picathartes Lesson. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 72: 2-6. 
Sibley, C. G. 1970. A comparative study of the egg-white proteins of passerine birds. Bull. 

Peabody Mus. Nat. Hist. 32: 1-131. 
— 1973. The relationships of Picathartes. Bull. Brit. Orn. CI. 93: 23-25. 

Address: Dr. Storrs L. Olson, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of 
Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560 U.S.A. 

© British Ornithologists' Club 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(3)] 114 


Allopreening by the Yellow-casque 

Ceratogytnna elata 

Hornbills inhabiting the canopy of closed tropical forest are difficult to 
observe. As a result, almost nothing is known of hornbill courtship behaviour 
or pair relations prior to actual nesting activity. On the morning of 3 Febru- 
ary 1979, I observed allopreening by a female Yellow-casqued Hornbill 
Ceratogymna elata of a male in primary rain forest bordering Lac Tissongo in 
the Reserve de Fauna de Douala-Edea, c. 3 5 km SW of Edea, Cameroun. I 
had been observing visitors to a fruiting vine of Ficus sp., and at least one 
pair of C. elata was among the regular visitors. At 0820, a pair landed in the 
crown of the 2 5 m tall leguminous tree supporting the Ficus vine, perching 
about 2 m from one another. Each beganto self-preen, attending primarily to 
wing and breast feathers. After less than one minute of self-preening, the 
female approached the male and began to preen him while he continued to 
self-preen. The male bent his head forward, spreading the nape feathers. The 
female preened the spread feathers for 1 5 sec. Then, each bird self-preened 
for 30 sec. The male continued to self-preen as the female preened the side of 
his head nearest to her, then preened body coverts beneath the anterior edge 
of the male's wing on her near side. The male raised this wing slightly, and 
the female continued to preen beneath the male's wing for 30 sec. This was 
followed by 60 sec of self-preening by each bird, immediately after which 
both birds flew, the female following the male in flight. Males leading the 
females in flight of pairs of C. elata was commonly seen by Allen (1930). 

Little has been published describing courtship or presumed courtship 
behaviour in hornbills. Ranger (195 1) included comments on pre-copulatory 
behaviour of the Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus australis, but did 
not mention allopreening. To my knowledge, nothing has been published on 
courtship behaviour of C. elata. Frequent sightings by myself and R. B. 
Payne of at least one pair (probably several pairs), but of no larger groups, 
of F. elata at Lac Tissongo from 28 January to 7 February 1979 suggest an 
early phase of breeding activity at that time. Mackworth-Praed & Grant 
(1970) note no records of breeding, nests, or eggs for C. elata, although they 
state that breeding probably occurs from December to April. 

Ackowledgments: Travel funds were provided by NSF grant BNS 78-03 178 to R. B. Payne. 
I thank D. McKey for the invitation to visit the Field Research Centre at Lac Tissongo 
and the brothers Collins for transport by dugout canoe. 


Allen, G. 1930. The Birds of Liberia. In The African Republic of Liberia and the Belgian Congo 

(R. P. Strong, Ed.). Harvard Univ. Press: Cambridge. 
Mackworth-Praed, C. W. & Grant, C. H. B. 1970. Birds of West Central and Western Africa. 

Vol. 1. Longman, London. 
Ranger, G. 195 1. Life of the Crowned Hornbill (Part IV). Ostrich 22: 77-93. 

15 May 1979 R. Breitwisch 

Address: Museum of Zoology and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 U.S.A. 


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Published by the BRITISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB and printed by 
The Caxton and Holmesdale Press, 104 London Road Sevenoaks Kent. 

ISSN 0007-1595 

Bulletin of the 

British Ornithologists' Club 

Edited by 
Dr. J. F. MONK 

Volume 99 No. 4 

December 1979 


The eighty-eighth Annual General Meeting of the British Ornithologists' 
Club will be held in the Senior Common Room, South Side, Imperial 
College, Prince's Gardens, London S.W.7, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday 13 May 


1. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting ( Bull. Brit. Orn. CLyy 141). 

2. Report of the Committee and Accounts for 1 979. 

3 . The Bulletin. 

4. Election of Officers. The Committee proposes that : 

(a) Dr. G. Beven be elected Chairman vice Mr. P. Hogg, who retires 
on completion of his term of office and is ineligible for re-election. 

(b) Mr. D. R. Calder be elected Vice-Chairman vice Dr. G. Beven, who 
retires on completion of his term of office and is ineligible for 

(c) Dr. J. F. Monk be re-elected Editor. 

(d) Mrs. D. M. Bradley be re-elected Hon. Treasurer. 

(e) Mr. R. E. F. Peal be re-elected Hon. Secretary. 

(f) Mr. R. A. N. Croucher be elected a member of the Committee vice 
Mr. B. Gray, who retired by rotation. 

5 . Any other business of which notice shall have been given in accordance 
with Rule (7). 

By Order of the Committee 
Honorary Secretary. 

NOTE. As the Bulletin Vol. 100 No. 1 will be a special enlarged 
number consisting entirely of invited papers, the Report of the Com- 
mittee and Accounts for 1979 will be published in Vol. 100 No. 2. 
Members who wish to be sent copies of the Report and Accounts 
before the Annual General Meeting should inform the Hon. Secretary. 


Tuesday ij January 1980 at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the Senior Common Room, South Side, 
Imperial College, Prince's Gardens, S.W.7. Dr. C. J. Bibby on Ecological aspects of migration 
Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £4.30 a person to the Hon. Secretary 
at 2 Chestnut Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3AR (telephone Sevenoaks 50313) to arrive 
not later than first post on Thursday 10 January. A slip for ready use by those wishing to 
attend this meeting was enclosed in the lastBulletin (Vol. 99 (3).) 

Tuesday 4 March ip8o at 6.30 p.m. for 7 p.m. at the same venue as above, Dr. C. H. Fry 
on Kingfishers. Those wishing to attend should send a cheque for £4.40 a person together 
with their acceptance on the enclosed slip to the Hon. Secretary at the same address as 
above, to arrive not later than first post on Thursday 28 February. 

Tuesday ij April ip8o at Imperial College, a special Meeting to mark the centennial volume 
of the Bulletin. Important guests will be invited and films will be shown. Members are 
asked to make a note of this Meeting: full information will be published in the next Bulletin 
(Vol 100 (1).) 

Tuesday 13 May 1980 at Imperial College. Dr. Leslie Brown on Flamingos and Pelicans 
on the Rift Valley Lakes. 

P. Hogg {Chairman) Dr. G. Bevan ( Vice-Chairman) 

R. E. F. Peal {Hon. Secretary) Mrs. D. M. Bradley {Hon. Treasurer) 

Dr. J. F. Monk {Editor) B. Gray 

R. D. Chancellor J. G. Parker 

C. F. Mann 


© British Ornithologists' Club. 

L * s *tf 

AO.C. /j>7j>: 99(4)] 

Bulletin of the \V L1B ^ 


Vol. 99 No. 4 Published: 20 December 1979 

The seven hundred and twenty second Meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 18 September 1979 at 
7 p.m. The attendance was 20 Members and 6 guests. 

Members present were: P. HOGG (Chairman), Miss I. P. BARCLAY-SMITH, Major 
N. A. G. H. BEAL, Dr. G. BEVEN, Miss G. M. BOND, Mrs. D. M. BRADLEY, 
Commander M. B. CASEMENT, R.N., S. CRAMP, R. A. N. CROUCHER, Professor 

Guests present were: E. F. J. Garcia (speaker), Miss M. Barry, Miss M. Collard, M. E. K. 
Gore, Dr. Amicia Melland and M. Riddell. 

The speaker was Mr. E. F. J. Garcia, who gave an illustrated address of great interest 
upon "The Birds of Gibraltar". He explained the various habitats there and gave informa- 
tion about the breeding birds. He also discussed raptor migration across the Straits and 
stated that surveys co-ordinated with observers in Spain suggested that Gibraltar was 
not on the main route for these birds passing between Iberia and North Africa. 

The seven hundred and twenty third Meeting of the Club was held in the Senior Common 
Room, South Side, Imperial College, London, S.W.7 on Tuesday, 20 November 1979 at 
7 p.m. The attendance was 30 Members and 16 guests. 

Members present were: Dr. G. BEVEN (Chairman), Miss I. P. BARCLAY-SMITH, 
Major N. A. G. H. BEAL, K. F. BETTON, Mrs. D. M. BRADLEY, R. D. CHANCEL- 
LOR, Squadron-Leader D. ST. J. COURT-SMITH, S. CRAMP, R. A. N. CROUCHER, 
C. F. MANN, Dr. J. F. MONK, P. J. OLIVER, J. G. PARKER, R. E. F. PEAL, R. C. 
C. E. WHEELER and C. R. WOOD. 

Guests present were: M. E. K. Gore (speaker), Miss M. Barry, Mr. and Mrs. E. Cawkell, 
Miss M. Collard, Miss H. Fisher, Mrs. M. E. K. Gore, G. Howard, R. A. Hume, G. P. 
McCulloch, Mrs. I. McCulloch, Miss I. E. McCulloch, Miss E. V. Pilcher, Mr. and Mrs. 
G. H. Searle and Mrs. B. W. Vittery. 

Mr. M. E. K. Gore spoke on "The Birds of The Gambia". He described first the 
topography and habitats, then the avifauna of the area. He illustrated his address with 
his own excellent colour slides, including many of the 484 bird species recorded there, 
especially of the 193 species known and 52 suspected to have bred in The Gambia. 

Notes on some Brazilian Birds 

by Helmut Sick 

Received 6 April 1979 
I present here some selected records from Brazil, dealing with the following 
topics: (1) mutation: Jabiru mycteria; (2) new for brazil: Diomedea chry- 
sostoma, Vultur gryphus, Laterallus xenopterus, Larus delaivarensis, Lobipes 
fulicarius and Pyrrhura rupicola; (3) extension and correction of range: 
Geranoaetus melanoleucus, Buteo swainsoni, Sterna sandvicensis acuflavida, Capri- 
mulgus I. longirosiris, Baillonius bailloni, Berlepschia rikeri and Passer domes ticus: 
(4) rare or little known: Crax fasciolata pinima and Crax fasciolata grayi i 

[Bull. B.O.C. ip7p: 99(4)] 116 

Phaethornis nigrirostris, Nemosia rourei and Emberi^oides ypiranganus; (5) 
Hybridisation; in Pipridae and Icteridae x Carduelinae. 

The basic literature on distribution is: O. Pinto (1938, Cat. I, Rev. Mus. 
Paul. XXII, 566 pp, new edition 1978, Sao Paulo, 446 pp.; idem 1944, Cat. II, 
700 pp.), M. de Schauensee (1966, Species of Birds, 577 pp., and 1970, Guide 
to the Birds of South America, 470 pp.), an d the author's forthcoming book 
Aves do Brasil, Introducao a Ornitologia Brasi/eira. 

Jabiru mycteria Jabiru. In the Pantanal of Mato Grosso (Transpantaneira, 
40 km from Pocone) unusually coloured specimens of Jabiru sometimes 
appear which have the bare head and neck entirely red; there is also some red 
on the commissure, and the legs are also red. Normally the head, neck, bill 
and legs are black, and only the base of the neck is red. 

The red-headed Jabiru can be found in flocks of normally coloured 
Jabirus, Wood-Storks, Great Egrets, White-necked Herons, etc. They were 
well documented in colour-slides by Arne Sucksdorff, Cuiaba, in 1975 . 

Diomedea chrysostoma Grey-headed Albatross. Observed by C. C. 
Olrog off the Brazilian coast (Sao Paulo to Santa Catarina): on 3 May 1954 
2 adults and 2 juveniles, together with Diomedea melanophris, following the 
ship (25°S, 4o°W); on 24 May 1958 one adult (27°S, 45°W) and on 25 May 
1958 one adult and 2 juveniles (24°S, 38°W). Apparently the first record from 

Vultur gryphus Andean Condor. The Rio Jauru, western Mato Grosso, 
is visited by condors in the beginning of the dry season (May/ June), as first 
noted by Arne Sucksdorff, Cuiaba, in 1974. There is an "Una dos urubus" 
in which the current of the river has hollowed out a bay where the water 
swirls round depositing carcases of cattle on the beach. Black and King 
Vultures come too. The condor is new for the list of Brazilian birds. 

Lobipes fulicarius. Red Phalarope. One specimen in winter plumage, 
collected by Paul Roth near Aripauna, Mato Grosso, on 11 March 1979, is 
deposited in the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro. The first record for Brazil. 

Geranoaetus melanoleucus Black-chested Buzzard Eagle. This eagle, 
recorded up to now only in southern Brazil (up to Sao Paulo), was found by 
us in Minas Gerais (Serra do Caraca, July 1974), Bahia (Raso da Catarina, 
Dec 1978; Rio Sapao, Aug 1976) and Piaui (Oct 1977). Apparently the 
species is resident in all these places. 

Buteo swainsoni Swainson's Hawk. Records of this North American 
hawk in Brazil are scarce. Our first specimen was collected on 3 Nov 1946 
on the Rio das Mortes, Mato Grosso, an area where the species, which 
migrates through the middle of the continent to the Argentinian pampa, 
was to be expected. It was a surprise that in November 1974 newspapers in 
Sao Paulo published some excellent photographs showing Swainson's Hawks 
(referred to as Peregrines) in flight around the Campos Elisios, in the centre 
of the city. 

Crax fasciolata pinima and Crax fasciolata grayi Bare-faced Curas- 
sow. In November 1977 we realized that the rare east Amazonian race 
pinima occurred regularly in the still extensive Pindare forest in western 
Maranhao, but was endangered by the construction of a railroad. It lives 
there together with the Amazonian Razor-billed Curassow Mitu m. tuberosa. 

ii7 [Bull. B.O.C. ip7i>: 99(4)] 

In the interior of eastern Para (e.g. Ourem) we found several specimens of 
pinima in captivity. Pedro Nardelli, outstanding aviculturist in Nilopolis, 
Rio de Janeiro, has had live specimens of pinima at least since 1975. At the 
same time Nardelli acquired Crax fasciolata grayi, bought in Cuiaba, Mato 
Grosso, said to come from Bolivia. We have still to deal in more detail with 
the male of grayi, apparently not yet described (see Delacour & Amadon 
1973, Curassows and Related Birds:) 114); it has a light yellow abdomen, not a 
white one as othetfasciolata males. 

Laterallus xenopterus Rufous-faced Crake. One unsexed specimen, 
7 July 1978, Parque Nacional Brasilia, D.F. Wing 92, tail 52, culmen 16, 
tarsus 27, middle toe with claw 30.5 mm. Weight 53 g, total length 19.4 cm. 
There are no indications about the fresh colour of bill, feet, or iris ; in the 
dried skin the bill is black, becoming light horn at the very tip, and the feet 
are dark brown. 

The species seems to be known only from the type, a female from Paraguay. 
The description by Conover (1934, Auk 5 1 : 365-366) corresponds well with 
the specimen from Brasilia. The tail, lacking in the type, and its coverts are 
much longer and wider than in other Laterallus. The tail is an important 
structural character of xenopterus, different from other Laterallus, while other 
structural peculiarities of xenopterus, as pointed out already by Conover, are 
the stouter bill and the shorter tarsus. The tail and its coverts are black with 
a faint brown sheen, similar to the secondaries ; some of the undertail coverts 
have a trace of a whitish pattern. 

As regards colouration, a striking characteristic of xenopterus is the broad 
white barring of the upper wing coverts and scapulars (unbarred in the 
similar melanophaius and leucopyrrhus). The top of the head, sides of the face, 
and top and sides of the neck are dark rufous in xenopterus, reminiscent of 
L». leucopyrrhus. The buffy ochraceous colour of the foreneck, chest and 
breast of xenopterus is similar in some specimens of L,. melanophaius (e.g. from 
Espirito Santo). The chin of our xenopterus is white, the lores are blackish. 

This rail was caught by Rick Hansen, working for IBDF, while snap- 
trapping small mammals in an area of homogeneous bunchgrass with 
standing water; when I visited the place in December it was dry. The area is 
bordered by gallery forest on one side and cerrado on the other. 

I thank Rick Hansen, who realized the importance of his finding, for sending 
me the bird for identification at the Museu Nacional, Rio, where the specimen 
is now deposited. 

Larus delawarensis Ring-billed Gull. One specimen near Tefe, 
Amazonas, 23 Nov 1968; banded 5 months before on the Canada-U.S.A. 
border. The gull was obtained by Raimundo Almeida from a large flock of 
gulls. He noted that it was "obviously different from the rest of the gulls, 
both in appearance and behaviour". This seems to be the first record from 
continental South America. The species is known from Trinidad (sight 

Sterna sandvicensis acuflavida Sandwich Tern. One record from Rio 
Grande do Norte, 5 Aug 1966, a specimen banded on the coast of Mississ- 
ippi, U.S.A., July 1964. This is up to now the only certain Brazilian record 
of acuflavida, the North American race. All other records of Sandwich Terns 
from Brazil about which I have obtained detailed information belong to the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 1 1 8 

South American breeding race eurygnatha. Of special interest is the material 
of Natterer, examined at my request by K. H. Voous (1977, Bull. B.O.C. 97: 
42-44), which also proved to be eurygnatha. 

Pyrrhura rupicola subsp. Rock Parakeet. One female, Fazenda Campo 
Lindo, Rio Branco, Acre, 24 May 1968, coll. J. Hidasi; Museu Nacional, 
Rio. This is the specimen de Schauensee (1970: 102) refers to. The first record 
from Brazil. 

Caprimulgus l. longirostris Band-winged Nightjar. It is noteworthy 
that this nightjar, which in the northern part of South America is generally 
a mountain bird (I observed it, e.g. at 4000 m in the Columbian Andes), has 
colonized during the last 2 5 years the city of Rio de Janeiro, situated at sea 
level in the tropics, where it lives on buildings. 

In other tropical areas of Brazil it is a mountain bird, as I realised in 1941 
(Sick 1959, Bol. Mus. Nac. Rio, Zool: 204). Recently we found the species at 
sea level in Rio Grande do Sul (Belton 1978, Auk 95 : 414), where the fauna 
is similar to that of mountain areas north of the tropic of Capricorn, a rule 
formulated already by Humboldt. It was a surprise to record this nightjar 
also in northern Bahia, in a canyon-like valley of the Raso da Catarina (340 m, 
January 1979). The ability to shift habitat preference is a character of the 
most successful colonizers (Mayr 1965: 41, The Genetics of Colonizing Birds, 
Acad. Press : New York). 

Phaethornis nigrirostris Black-billed Hermit. Few people have had the 
opportunity to see anything of the new species of hummingbird described 
in recent years by A. Ruschi. During my trip with R. S. Ridgely through 
eastern Brazil in 1977 we had an excellent opportunity of observing Phae- 
thornis nigrirostris in the Reserva Nova Lombardia, Espirito Santo. It is easily 
distinguishable by its entirely black bill which, in consequence of this colour, 
appears very thick. 

Baillonius bailloni Saffron Toucanet. This toucanet, typical of the 
mountains of southeastern Brazil (Itatiaia, etc.), also occurs in Pernambuco, 
northeastern Brazil. The first indication of its occurrence there was a speci- 
men which I found in 1967 in captivity in Recife, coming from Serra Negra, 
Municipio Floresta. Galileu Coelho saw the species there again in 1971, but 
not in 1976/77. In 1978 some specimens were offered for sale in the market of 

Berlepschia rickeri Point-tailed Palmcreeper. The occurrence of this 
furnariid, rare in collections, is strictly dependent on the two Mauritia palms, 
vinifera in Central Brazil and flexuosa in the Amazon. One must know the 
voice of the bird to find it. On the southern border of its range I recorded it 
on the upper Xingu, Mato Grosso (Rio Sete de Setembro, 1952) and on the 
Araguaia, Goias (Aragarcas, 1953). I have also found it in northern Bahia 
(Rio Sapao, 1974) and Piaui (Correntes and Urucui 1977). 

Chiroxiphia caudata Blue Manakin and Antilophia galeata Helmeted 
Manakin. Parkes (1961, Condor 63 : 345-350) admits three hybrids in Pipridae: 
Manacus manacus x (probably) Pipra erythrocephala, Teleonema filicauda x (prob- 
ably) Manacus manacus and Pipra aureola x Heterocercus linteatus. Two other 
available specimens (skins) may be of hybrid origin too. 

In Brazil the phenomenon of hybridization among manakins came to 

ii9 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

light in birds sold as cagebirds, which aroused the interest of Armando 
Assumpcao, an aviculturist, and Werner Bokermann of the Zoological 
Park, Sao Paulo. In 1967 Mr. Assumpcao already knew of four such speci- 
mens, captured over a range of 600 km. The birds proved to be hybrids of 
Chiroxiphia caudata x Antilophia galeata, two manakins which meet in gallery 
forest in the interior of the State of Sao Paulo, e.g. near Pirassununga. 

Knowing that Paulo Biihrnheim, Campinas, who had such a bird for some 
time in captivity, was studying the problem, I did not interfere. In 1978, 
however, I took the opportunity to visit one of the forests near Campinas 
where such hybrids might be found, as both Chiroxiphia caudata and Anti- 
lophia galeata occur there. On 5 Dec, in the forest of the Fazenda Genebra 
near Campinas, P. Biihrnheim and I located a manakin calling, sounding like 
Chiroxiphia or Antilophia; the character of the voice was not clear-cut. Later 
I twice had a perfect view of a wonderful hybrid manakin. From the front, 
the bird appeared like an adult male Antilophia, but its frontal crest was short 
and the central tail feathers were pointed and a little bit protruding, reminis- 
cent of Chiroxiphia. From behind, the bird appeared totally different from 
Antilophia, but similar to an adult male Chiroxiphia: its back was entirely a 
clear bluish-yellow, suggesting a faded adult Chiroxiphia male. This is the 
first observation of a manakin hybrid alive in nature. All records of hybrids 
of Pipridae have been based, up to now, only on skins or cage birds. 

The reason for the hybridization of Chiroxiphia and Antilophia lies prob- 
ably in a shortage of males of Antilophia, due to persistent capturing (cf. 
also Fringillidae : Sick 1963, Proc. XIII Intern. Ornithol. Congress: 161-170). 
As a result, Antilophia females probably have difficulty in finding males of 
their species, especially as the sex ratio in Antilophia seems to be 1:1. In 
Chiroxiphia caudata, however, there is a surplus of males. Therefore "our" 
hybrids are probably crosses of Chiroxiphia males x Antilophia females. 

Atticora melanoleuca Black-collared Swallow. For several years this 
conspicuous Amazonian swallow has been present at Foz do Iguacu, 
Parana, on the Iguacu River, above the famous falls, seen, e.g., by Paul Roth 
on 3 July 1976 and later. It seems that this is a new settlement and not a 
transitory migration. In 1959 I did not record Atticora from Iguacu. 

Agelaius ruficapillus Chestnut-capped Blackbird. In the aviary of Mrs. 
Flavia Silveira Lobo, Rio de Janeiro, a male of this blackbird mated with 2 
female canaries Serinus canaria and produced 7 offspring in 8 months. Five of 
the young died when 2-27 days old. One, similar to a canary but ill-propor- 
tioned, died at 8 months. One young, resembling a female Agelaius ruficapillus, 
survived well. It mated with a male canary and produced several clutches, 
from which 3 eggs hatched (newly hatched young were black as in Agelaius'), 
proving the fertility of the icterid-cardueline hybrid. The relationship of the 
carduelines to other 9-primaried oscines (such as the Icteridae) is suggested 
by the electrophoretic patterns of their egg-white proteins (Sibley 1970, 
Peabodj Mus. Nat. Hist. Bull. 32:96). 

Nemosia rourei Cherry-throated Tanager. Of this species, known only 
by the type from Muriae, Minas Gerais, north bank of rio Paraiba, 1870 
(I have seen the type in the Berlin Museum), I saw on 8 Aug 1941 in the 
region of Jatiboca, Espirito Santo, 900 m, a flock of 8 in the canopy of the 
forest. They were not associated with any other birds. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 120 

Emberizoides ypiranganus Lesser Grass-Finch. When I came first into 
the area of this recently rediscovered species, I easily found it by its voice, 
reminiscent of European warblers of the genus Acrocephalus , which it re- 
sembles also in habitat preference and behaviour. It is very different in all 
aspects of its life history from the common "Emberizoides herbicola. I recorded 
the species in several places in Parana and Santa Catarina (Oct 1969), and 
later in Rio Grande do Sul. It was known, at the time, only from Sao Paulo 

At the same time, by coincidence, E. Eisenman began to take an interest 
in specimens of E. ypiranganus which the AMNH in New York had obtained 
from W. Partridge from Misiones, Argentina (Eisenmann & Short, MS). 
Short (1975, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 154: 320-321) mentions ypiranganus 
from Paraguay and neighbouring Argentina. 

Passer domesticus House Sparrow. The penetration of the Amazon by 
the House Sparrow was discussed recently by Smith (1973, Condor 75: 
242-243). R. S. Ridgely and I found it on 5 Dec 1977 160 km northeast of 
Belem, in Salinopolis (o° 37'S, 47 20'W), a coastal locality with a very dry 
climate .A search in Belem (i°2j' S, 48 29' W) in 1977 in the Amazonian forest 
region was unsuccessful. The House-Sparrow was released in Belem about 
1927 but disappeared (Sick 1957, Vogelwelt 78: 8). In northeastern Brazil we 
recorded the House Sparrow in November 1977 in several "new" places (see 
Sick 1971, Arqu. Mus. Nac. Rio 54: 113-121): in Piaui (Teresina) and 
Maranhao (Bacabal and Santa Ines). 

It is surprising that the successful spread of the House Sparrow can be 
checked by the Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis, as reported from the 
interior of Sao Paulo (Rio Claro). The House Sparrow is generally not 
parasitised by the cowbird in Brazil. 

Address: Dr. Helmut Sick, Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

© British Ornithologists* Club 

The Egg and Nest of the Bokikokiko 

Acrocephalus aequinoctialis 

by Ralph W. Schreiber 

Received 1 May 19J9 
While on Christmas Island (2°N, i57°W) between 5 and 22 March 1979, I 
found and collected many nests and collected the first known extant egg of 
the Bokikokiko or Line Island Warbler Acrocephalus aequinoctialis. This 
sylviid warbler is endemic to the Central Pacific Line Islands. Its taxonomic 
and population status was discussed by Clapp & King (1975), and Gallagher 
(i960) recorded notes on breeding biology. As noted by Child (1956) the 
Gilbertese refer to this bird as the 'Bokikokiko* rather than the 'Kokikokiko' 
used in most of the literature. I suggest the former should be the accepted 
common name. 

The egg, which measures 21-21 x 14*54 mm, with an empty dry shell 
weight of 0-131 g, was found in a nest with a nestling estimated to be about 
8 days old. The egg had solid material inside and was probably infertile: it is 

Fig. i. Nest of Acrocephalus aequinoctialis in Messerschmidia argentea on Christmas Island, Central Pacific 

I ; ig. 2 . Adult Acrocephalus aequinoctialis with tail of cither Hemidactylus sp. or Lepidodactylus lugubris (Gecko 
ro feed its nestlings. 
Adult \crocephalus aequinoctialis on perch near its nest in Beach Heliotrope Messerschmidia argente 


[Bull. B.O.C. i 979 : 99(4)] 

now specimen number 108,033-1 in the Western Foundation of Vertebrate 
Zoology, Los Angeles, California. The egg is light greyish to pale green with 
brown, chocolate and dark grey spots, heaviest at the large end, and it is 
similar to the Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris and Great Reed Warbler 
A. arundinaceus of Europe and less similar to the extinct Laysan Millerbird 
A. familiaris of Laysan Island, Pacific Ocean. 

I discovered 1 5 nests, 3 of which contained nestlings during my visits. 
One clutch of 4 fledged on 19 March and the 2 and one young in the other 
nests were still present on 21 March. All the nests were located just below the 
canopy in three- or four-branch forks of mature Beach Heliotrope Messerschmi- 
dia argentea, and usually in the tallest, most mature forms with open branching 
areas below the canopy. Nests ranged in estimated height from i-8 to 8*i m 
(mean 5-3 m), with most in the 6 to 7 m range. In Table 1 are given the 
dimensions of 5 nests collected and Fig. 1 illustrates a nest in relation to the 
leaf clusters at the branch tips. 

Table i 

Dimensions (mm) of nests of Acrocephalus aequinoctialis, Christmas Island, Central Pacific 


Height Total Depth from Diameter Diameter Diameter Diameter of 

above depth of nest cup rim of cup of total of base support 

ground (m) nest to bottom of at rim nest branch branches at 

cup rim 




40 x 50 







42 x 50 







40 x 50 







49 X 64 










7-9-1 1 

*Two nestlings present; cup off to one side; structure appears to have been used twice. 
**Four nestlings fledged from nest; structure appears to have been used at least twice. 

Nests seem to be built in 2 forms, either a relatively simple cup or with a 
deeper, more complicated base below the nest cup. Since the 3 occupied nests 
were of the latter form and 2 of these had a simpler nest within a meter in the 
same bush, I suspect that false or 'play* nests are built. As a tree or a nest 
territory is occupied, the pair may build one or two nests, of which one is 
chosen for actual nesting, and is added to in later years. 

Precise composition of the nests is difficult to determine although grasses 
{Digit aria sp., Eragrostis sp., and Lepturus sp.) are the most common plant 
material, with mascerated coconut Cocos nucifera frond/bark/fibre and 
Cassytha fiiiformis also present; coconut husk tendrils were used in the cups 
of all the nests examined. A nest found within 100 m of human housing 
contained primarily string and other man-made material such as plastic. All 
5 nests are in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles 

I believe the nests are placed in a crotch of a tree for support but also so 
that the leaves of the cymose inflorescences in the distal forks shade the nest 
from the sun and rain (Halle et al. 1978). During a heavy squall on 21 March, 
an adult sitting on its nest, containing an egg and young, was effectively 
shielded from the rain. After I found the first nest I could easily predict in 
which growth form nests would be found. Height and diameter of the shrub 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99 (4)] 124 

(up to c. 25 m) seemed important, but large leaf size was also critical. Such 
mature bushes seem to be limited on the island, but I suspect the population 
estimate of 300-400 warblers made by Clapp & King (1975) for the mid- 
1960s remains in 1979. 

As 'development' occurs on the island and 'brush* is cleared, the status of 
the plant species and growth form, and thus of the warbler, may be liable to 
change rapidly. Since this species apparently is extirpated from Fanning 
Island, only Washington and Christmas Islands provide the habitat for this 
poorly known form. Future research plans involve elucidating the breeding 
biology and will provide management advice on the species to the Gilbertese 

Acknowledgements: The TRW Company of Los Angeles provided transport to the 
island and Mr. Theodore L. Cross supported this research. The Minister of Natural Resource 
Development of the Gilbertese Government kindly gave permission to study the birds of 
Christmas Island. Lloyd KifF preserved the egg and encouraged preparation of this note and 
Roger Clapp, he and Fred Truxal made valuable comments on the ms. Robert Gustafson 
and Christopher Davidson gave botanical advice. My appreciation is extended to all. 

References : 

Child, P. 1956. Birds of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony. Gilbert and Ellice Islands 

Colony: Education Department. (Mimeo, 36 pp.) 
Clapp, R. B. & King, W. B. 1975. Status of the Kokikokiko Acrocephalus aequinoctialis. Bull. 

Brit. Orn. CI. 95 : 2-3. 
Gallagher, M. D. i960. Bird notes from Christmas Island, Pacific Ocean. Ibis 102: 489-502. 
Halle, F., Oldeman, R. A. A. & Tomlinson, P. B. 1978. Tropical Trees and Forests. 

Springer- Verlag : New York. 

Address: Dr. R. W. Schreiber, Los Angeles County Museum, 900 Exposition Boulevard, 
Los Angeles, California 90007, U.S.A. 

© British Ornithologists' Club. 

The Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii arideensis 
on Aride Island, Seychelles 

by S. R. War man 

Received 21 April 1979 
Sterna dougallii arideensis was described by Mathews (19 12) from skins collec- 
ted on Aride Island, Seychelles. Peters (1934) considers it to be 'doubtfully 
distinct from S. d. bangsii\ while Penny (1974) states that it is one of 4 recog- 
nized subspecies in the Indian Ocean. This uncertain taxonomy makes it 
difficult to delimit the subspecific range. In the granitic Seychelles arideensis 
has been recorded as breeding on Aride, Mamelles (Vesey-Fitzgerald 
1936), Recif (Penny 1974) and Isle aux Vaches off the coast of Mahe (Ridley 
& Percy 1958). Other colonies are reported from North Island African 
Banks (Ridley & Percy 1958), on Goelette Island, Farquar Atoll and in the 
Mascarenes on Rodriguez (Staub 1973) and Cargados Carajos (Newton 
1958). Feare (pers. comm.) confirms recent breeding on Isle aux Vaches and 
North Island African Banks. Nothing has been recorded of the subspecies' 
breeding biology and the aim of this paper is to record details observed in 

Aride colonies. Procter (1974) estimated that c.2500 pairs of Roseate 
Terns bred on Aride in 1973 and Todd (1977) obtained a figure of between 

125 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

4300 and 4800 in 1975. By 1978 the area of the sub-colonies had increased 
beyond the 1975 limits, but in the absence of comparable density estimates 
for the 2 years it is possible only to state that an increase in numbers probably 

The Roseate Terns on Aride breed in a number of clearly defined sub- 
colonies, all between 25m and 80m above sea-level, whose positions remained 
fairly fixed between 1975 and 1978. About half breed in areas of open 
'grassland' of differing species composition (dominant herbs are usually one, 
or a combination, of Digitaria hori^ontalis, Asystasia gangetica, Cyperus 
ligularis and Pennisetum polys tachiori). This 'grassland' generally has a persistent 
layer of plant litter and little exposed soil, nests usually being very shallow 
trampled depressions in the coarse litter. Much of this habitat is currently 
being invaded by the introduced pineapple (now gone wild) and Roseate 
Tern breeding areas may be lost through its spread. The remainder of 
Aride's Roseate Terns breed in the deep shade of a canopy oiPisonia grandis, 
where there is virtually no herbaceous understorey, but where an intermittent 
layer of Pisonia leaf-litter overlies coarse granite-derived soil. Nests here are 
generally shallow scrapes in the litter or soil. The birds seem to favour areas 
of taller woodland with several metres of unimpeded airspace beneath the 
leafy canopy. 

Todd (1977) found a nest density of 0-31 nests per m 2 for the centre of a 
large woodland colony and 0*97 per m 2 for a 'grassland' colony. Vocal squab- 
bles between adjacent nest-holders are frequent and competition for prime 
(^central?) sites is severe (cf. Feare 1976). 

Breeding cycle at Aride. Aride's Roseate Terns breed on a strict 
annual cycle which is strongly synchronised, and they spend less time on the 
island than do any of the other breeding seabirds. Lousteau-Lalanne's (1963) 
statement that 'the Roseate Tern stays near its breeding ground all year 
round' clearly does not apply to the Aride population : not a single bird was 
seen on or near Aride outside the period 22 April to 18 August. 

22 April. First Roseate Tern seen; none was seen during the next 2 days. 

24 April. Many hundreds present at dawn. The simultaneous arrival of 
such a large number suggests that the terns congregated elsewhere and 
arrived en masse during the night. On the morning of 24 April and on every 
other morning until the time of laying, the terns took part in a dawn 'fly- 
past'. These massed flights, which are far more orderly than the 'fairs' of 
Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata (cf. Ashmole 1963), last about 40 minutes, starting 
just after first light. The birds fly in a closely knit group and call continu- 
ously: a large proportion were flying in twos even on their first morning on 
the breeding ground. A less coherent dusk flight also takes place. 

7 May. Until now the birds had made only brief landings on the island. 
On 7 May the colonies were first occupied — about 2 weeks earlier than the 
occupation of colonies by Sooty Terns, which by virtue of their size and 
aggression might otherwise be expected to fare better in competition for 
nest-sites than Roseate Terns. Courtship was in full swing with fish-offering, 
display and copulation observed. Nest-sites were being actively defended 
from neighbours. The bills of all the birds were black, the feet red and the 
breast feathers markedly pink. In those pairs where the sexes could be separa- 
ted (by observing copulation) the male appeared to have slightly longer tail 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 126 

streamers than the female. At this early stage of colony formation the birds 
were highly vocal and very sensitive to disturbance. 

12 May. Colonies at full size : a few eggs laid. Most birds showed a trace 
of blood-red colouration at the base of the upper mandible. 

18 May. At least 60% of pairs had laid and the colonies were less prone to 
explosive disturbances than before. Over 99% of the nests seen held only one 
egg, and those with 2 eggs may have been due to layings by 2 females 
rather than to a clutch of 2. Dawn and dusk 'fly-pasts' were much reduced in 
length and intensity. 

6 June. Incubating : Most of the Roseate Terns had bills which were blood- 
red for the inner half of their length, though a few still showed no red. 

17 June (approx.). First eggs hatched. 

26 June. Peripheral pairs still incubating, most of the central pairs having 
young about one week old. 

14 July. A few chicks just flying and colonies beginning to break up as 
young birds became more mobile and left the vicinity of their nests. Fledged 
young started to assemble in creches on the coastline, sometimes several 
hundred metres from their nest-sites. For the next 3 weeks the creches grew 
in size and the young continued to be fed by their parents. 

10 August (approx.). Creches grew smaller as the terns began to leave. 

16 August. A few non-flying young still remained, some appearing to have 
been abandoned by their parents. All the remaining adults had all-red bills. 

18 August. Colonies deserted except for a few starving and abandoned 

20 August. No living Roseate Terns seen. 

Breeding mortality 

a) Predation. For at least a century up until 1975 man was an important 
predator of Roseate Tern eggs on Aride. Direct predation and the associated 
loss of eggs through disturbance (see below) must have considerably reduced 
the breeding success. No data are available on replacement laying though 
local opinion is that pairs will lay 3 times if eggs are removed. Egg collection 
has now ceased, so one may expect an increase in the number of young return- 
ing to breed. 

Two species of lizard, Mabuya ivrightii and M. sechellensis (Scincidae), are 
known to eat the eggs of Roseate Terns on Aride (Todd 1977); indeed the 
small size of the eggs renders them more easily broken by these skinks than 
the larger eggs of Aride's more common ground nesting terns, Sterna fuscata 
and Anous stolidus. Todd estimated that in one sub-colony he studied on 
Aride in 1975 about 7% of the eggs were eaten by skinks. The intensity of 
egg-predation by Mabuya increases with the length of time for which the 
eggs are left unguarded because of a convergence of lizards towards the 
centre of any disturbance within tern colonies. Any disturbance which keeps 
adults off their nests is liable to decrease breeding success. 

Cats were introduced by man to Aride in about 191 8, but were eliminated 
within a decade (Ridley & Percy 1958). There are no longer any mammalian 
predators on Aride. 

The Barn Owl Tyto alba, another species introduced by man to Seychelles 
(Lionnet 1971), breeds on Aride (Warman 1978) and kills a number of adult 
Roseate Terns, though the importance of this mortality is not known. 

127 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

b) Parasitism. Converse et al. (1976) isolated a virus from ticks Amblyomma 
loculosum found on sick Roseate Terns on Bird Is, Seychelles. On the assump- 
tion that the birds came from Aride, this previously unknown virus was 
named Aride Virus. Ticks collected from young Roseate Terns on Aride in 
1978 have been identified as Amblyomma loculosum (Feare, pers. comm.) and 
are currently being investigated for viral infection at the Unit of Invertebrate 
Virology, South Parks Road, Oxford. Amblyomma itself may cause mortality 
in young Roseate Terns ; it attaches itself to the legs and feet of hatchlings 
and being a very large tick can cause severe malformation of the limbs, 
crippling the birds. Adults have been seen with foot damage similar to that 
seen in crippled chicks but with no ticks attached, so it appears that infesta- 
tion with Amblyomma (and Aride Virus?) does not necessarily prevent Roseate 
Terns reaching maturity. Nothing is known of the epidemiology of the 
virus, though it may be responsible for at least part of a 24% mortality of 
unfledged young reported by Todd (1977). The dead young showed no 
outward sign of disease, so serological confirmation of infection is needed. 

c) Other Mortality. Todd (1977) reported a 12% failure of eggs through 
unknown causes. Food shortages and attack by Frigatebirds, Fregata minor 
and Fregata ariel y as well as by undocumented parasites, must cause additional 
mortality in young and adults. 

Conservation. It is clearly important that more is known about the taxo- 
nomic status, breeding distribution, and behaviour of S. d. arideensis if 
effective conservation measures are to be carried out throughout its range. 
Away from the breeding grounds even less is known about arideensis and the 
pressures it faces ; large scale ringing operations (perhaps of fledglings in their 
creches to avoid disturbance in the colony) are necessary to determine the 
non-breeding distribution of Seychelles birds. On Aride, at least, it seems that 
the population is holding its own or possibly increasing. Aride is now a 
nature reserve administered by the Society for the Promotion of Nature 
Conservation (SPNC) and protected by Seychelles Law, so that as long as the 
enlightened policy of SPNC towards this vulnerable species is enforced by 
local wardening there is no immediate threat to the Aride population. Points 
of particular conservation importance are: (i) that incoming cargoes are 
carefully screened for piedators, especially rats ; (ii) that the Roseate Tern 
colonies are not subjected to disturbance — low-flying aircraft are becoming 
an increasing problem on Aride, causing massive disturbance to all its breed- 
ing seabirds; and (iii) the establishment of reserves (or restricted access during 
the breeding season) at the species' other breeding islands. 

Acknowledgements: Most observations reported here were made while I was employed by 
the Society for the Promotion of Nature Conservation (SPNC) as Ecological Adviser on 
Aride Island Nature Reserve. I would like to thank the President of SPNC, Mr. Christopher 
Cadbury, C.B.E., for permitting me to carry out the fieldwork and publish these results. 
My gratitude also goes to Carol Hellawell for her help with the fieldwork, David Todd for 
allowing me to use his data, and P. G. H. Evans and Dr. C. J. Feare, who read and greatly 
improved the text. 

References : 

Ashmole, N. P. 1963. The biology of the Wideawake or Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata on 

Ascension Island. Ibis 103b: 297-364. 
Converse, J. D., Hoogstraal, H., Moussa, M. I., Kaiser, M. N., Casals, J. & Feare, C. J. 

1976. Aride Virus, a new ungrouped arbovirus infecting Amblyomma loculosum ticks 

from Roseate Terns in the Seychelles. Arch. Vir. 50: 237-240. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 128 

Feare, C. J. 1976. The breeding of the Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata in the Seychelles and the 

effects of experimental removal of its eggs. /. Zool. 179: 317-360. 
Lousteau-Lalanne, P. 1963. Sea and shore birds of the Seychelles. Occ. Pubis. Seych. Soc. 

2: 1-20. 
Lionnet, J. F. G. 1971. 'Seychelles' in Tech.Commun. Commonw. Inst. Biol. Control 5 : 87-91. 
Mathews, G. M. 191 2. Birds of Australia. London. 
Newton, R. 1958. Ornithological Notes on Mauritius and the Cargados Carajos Archipelago. 

Port Louis: Mauritius. 
Penny, M. 1974. The Birds of Seychelles and the Outlying Islands. Collins: London. 
Peters, J. L. 1934. Checklist of Birds of the World. 2: 355. Harvard Univ. Press: Camb. Mass. 
Procter, J. 1974. A Management Plan for Aride Island, Seychelles. Cyclostyled draft to SPNC, 

incorporated in Warman (1978). 
Ridley, M. W. & Percy, R. 1958. Exploitation of Seabirds in Seychelles. Col. Res. Stud. 25 : 

Staub, F. 1973. Birds of Rodriguez Island. Proc. Roy. Soc. Arts and Sci. Mauritius 4, part 1 : 

Todd, D. M. 1977. in Warman (1977). 
Vesey-Fitzgerald, L. D. E. F. 1936. Birds of the Seychelles and Other Islands Included within that 

Colony. Govt. Printer, Victoria: Seychelles. 
Warman, S. R. (Ed.) 1976. Oxford University Expeditions to Aride Island, Seychelles. 

Bull. Oxf Univ. Bxplor. Club, n.s. 2. 
Warman, S. R. 1977. Aride Island Nature Reserve, Seychelles. First Report to SPNC 

— 1978. Aride Island Nature Reserve, Seychelles. Report to SPNC. 4 parts, cyclostyled. 

Address: S. R. Warman, Skokholm Bird Observatory, Lockley Lodge, Martinshaven, 
Marloes, Haverfordwest, Dyfed, Wales. 

© British Ornithologists' Club. 

Relationships and speciation in the Australian 

corellas (Psittacidae) 

by Richard Schodde, G. T. Smith, I.J. Mason & R. G. Weatherly 

Received 8 May 19J9 
Corellas are white cockatoos {Cacatua spp.) with short, undifferentiated 
crests, rather fine bone-coloured bills, and milky to leaden periophthalmic 
skin that in Australian members extends as a bare oval area below the eye 
down the side of the face. There are 3 principal forms in Australia: one 
short-billed and round-winged in the inland and north, another long-billed 
and pointed- winged in the southeast, and the third long-billed and round- 
winged in the southwest (Fig. 1). From Mathews (19 12) to Forshaw (1969, 
1973) and Condon (1975), the short-billed form has been separated as a 
distinct species, C. sanguinea, while the 2 populations of long-bills have been 
treated as subspecies of each other, C. tenuirostris tenuirostris in the east and 
C. t. pastinator in the west. This reflects the view that the long-billed corellas 
are of common origin and diverged after long-billed and short-billed corellas 
split. Earlier revisers (e.g. Salvadori 1891) even put short-billed and long- 
billed forms in separate genera. 

Our studies of living populations of all 3 forms and of collections in 
Australian museums (301 adults) indicate, on the contrary, that the long bill 
has evolved convergently in southeastern and southwestern Australian 
populations simply as an adaptation to feeding by digging. That this has 
happened is revealed in other characters, notably shape of wing, proportions 
of the body, size of crest, thickness of the bill, structure and colouring of the 

I2 9 

[Bull B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

feathers on the foreneck and face, tone of the underwing and calls. These 
characters have either been overlooked or misinterpreted in the literature 
and, besides, none of the recent descriptions is accurate. 

The long-billed corella of eastern Australia (tenuirostris) is by far the most 
distinctive of the three. It is a stocky bird with a disproportionally short tail 
(mean tail: wing ratio 0-45), a vestigial crest (usual length 33-34 mm), and a 
pointed wing in which the second outermost primary is longest and the 
sixth disproportionally shorter than the fifth (Fig. 2). By contrast, short- 
billed {sanguined) and western long-billed (pastinator) corellas are similar to 

eastern long-billed corella 
western long-billed corella 
short-billed corellas 

Fig. 1. Distribution of Australian corellas. Letters indicate subspecies of short-billed corel- 
las, viz. A.=C. p. sangutnea, B.=C p. gymnopis, C.=C. p. normantoni. Arrows indicate 
probable, independent sources of the two long-billed corellas. Numbers indicate localities 
in text, viz. 1 — Mornington Peninsula; 2 — Port Phillip Bay; 3 — You Yangs; 4 — Riverina; 
4a — Murray River; 4b — Murrumbidgee River; 5 — Mildura; 6 — Adelaide; 7 — Milparinka; 
8 — Lake Muir; 9 — Frankland; 10 — Boyup Brook; 11 — Perth (Swan River); 12 — Northam; 
13 — Mukinbudin; 14 — Jurien; 15 — Morawa; 16 — Geraldton; 17 — Kununurra; 18 — Vic- 
toria River; 19 — Melville Island; 20 — Cobourg Peninsula (Port Essington); 21 — -Roper 
River; 22 — Groote Eylandt; 23 — Maria Island; 24 — McArthur River; 25 — Normanton; 

26 — Townsville. 

each other and different from eastern long-bills in their slender shape and in 
having longer tails (mean tail: wing ratio 0-49 in both), longer crests (usual 
length 41-57 mm in short-bills and 47-58 mm in western long-bills), and 
more rounded wings in which the third outermost primary is the longest 
and the distance between fifth, sixth and seventh primaries subequal. 

The maxilla of the eastern long-bill (Fig. 3a) itself differs from that of the 
western (Fig. 3b) in its slenderness and stronger bilateral compression (mean 
width: length ratio of maxilla 0*33 in eastern form, 0*38 in western form). 
(Here length of the maxilla is the chord of the culmen measured from the 
cere and width of the maxilla is its greatest breadth at the feather-line.) The 
western long-bill has the heavier bill similar to that of the short-bill (Fig. 3c) 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 


Fig. 2. Structural differences in the wings of Australian corellas. a. C. tenuirostrts— east- 
ern long-bill, b. C. pastinator pastinator = western long-bill, c. C. p. sanguinea= short-bill. 

and also the broader culmen; indeed, it is a 'short-bill' in which the tip of the 
maxilla has merely become prolonged. Forshaw (1969: 101) claimed that the 
differences between 'long' bills and 'short' bills were structural, but he 
compared eastern rather than western long-bills with short-bills. Concerning 
curvature of the bill, we stress that the angle of inclination of the lower man- 
dible is a function of the angle of declination of the maxilla and related 
directly to the use to which the bill is put. 

In colour, eastern long-bills are much the most brightly marked (standards 
from Kornerup & Wanscher 1978). They have a splash of scarlet feathering 
on the lores extending broadly down the sides of the face and narrowly 
across the forehead, a distinct reddish yellow wash on feathers fringing the 
posterior margin of the periophthalmic skin, and an exposed band of scarlet 
down on the foreneck. On the other hand, they have only the faintest trace 
of sulphur yellow on the underwing. The feathers of the fluffy band of colour 
on the foreneck are structurally distinctive in that the feather proper is of the 
same downy form as its aftershaft. 

Short-bills and western long-bills have facial colour more-or-less restricted 

Fig. 3. Bills of Australian corellas, A. = C. tenuirostrts (eastern long-bill), B.=C. pastinator 

pastinator (western long-bill, extreme southwest), C.=c7. p. pastinator (Western Australian 

wheat-belt), D.=C p.gymnopis (short-bill). 

131 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

to the lores and more orange-red in tone. Both also lack the wash behind the 
orbital skin, and show little or no light orange to orange-red on the foreneck 
because the feathers proper there are usually normal in structure and white 
and hide the orange tone of the down. Yellow on the underwing, though 
much stronger, is individually variable in intensity in southeastern short- 
bills, and it increases in depth and consistency of tone northwards to Arnhem 
Land and the Kimberley Division and westwards to the Pilbara, becoming 
strongest of all in southwestern long-bills. 

Concerning calls, the yodelling contact notes of the eastern long-bill are 
more staccato and higher pitched than those of the short-bill and western 
long-bill. Other vocalizations of all 3 forms, although seeming to be alike, 
have not yet been properly identified and compared. 

Eastern long-bills seem to have closer affinity with short-bills in inland 
eastern Australia than with western long-bills, judged by the extent of 
yellow on the underwing and tone of red on the face. There is as yet, how- 
ever, no evidence of hybridization between them where they now meet in 
the open eucalypt forests of Eucalyptus camaldulensis along the Murray and 
Murrumbidgee river systems (Fig. 1). During the period that records have 
been kept (e.g. Hobbs 1961) the 2 forms have had virtually discrete ranges, 
until recent years. The eastern long-bill originally occurred in rather small, 
localized populations in the southeast of South Australia, in western and 
northern Victoria east of the mallee, and in the Riverina of New South 
Wales. Short-billed birds, on the other hand, were confined to the eucalypt- 
lined water-courses of inland Australia and extended little further southeast 
than Mildura on the Murray River. Since then, both forms have expanded 
their ranges (Fig. 1) and appear to have increased in numbers dramatically 
in southeastern Australia, the reasons for which are being investigated by 
Smith. Both have been found mixing in flocks in central and northern 
Victoria (W. Emison and H. E. A. Jarman) and in the southern Riverina 
during 1977-1978. The effects of this mixing are being kept under observa- 

Long-billed corellas in southwestern Australia differ from adjacent popu- 
lations of short-bills to the north only in their larger size (Bergmann's Rule) 
and dispTOportionally larger bills. In all other morphological characters they 
are indistinguishable and their rolling contact-calls are alike. That western 
long-bills and short-bills are very closely related was first pointed out by 
Mees (1961: 102-103), who drew attention to specimens from the northern 
part of the range of the western long- bill with bills intermediate between the 
two (cf. also Fig. 3). As a result, he combined not only short-billed and wes- 
tern long-billed forms but also eastern long-billed forms under one species, 
C. tenuirostris. On the other hand, Saunders' (1977) study of the growth of 
bills in young western long-bills implies that Mees' intermediates could have 
been immatures, and in fact our observations suggest that growth of the bill 
may be slower in fledgling western than fledgling eastern long-bills. 

There is now extensive overlap between short-billed and western long- 
billed corellas in the northern wheat-belt of Western Australia where the 
short-bill is extending its range southwards through sub-coastal Western 
Australia (Fig. 3 and see Serventy & Whittell 1976: 273-4). Our records 
indicate that breeding populations of short-bills began to enter the northern 
breeding range of long-bills from the 1950's onwards. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 132 

The western long-bills are presently restricted to 2 isolated populations 
that differ in measurements (Table 1, Fig. 4). One, of larger birds, occurs in 
fields almost cleared of Jarrah Eucalyptus marginata — Marri E. calophylla 
forest in the region between Boyup Brook, Lake Muir and Frankland in 
extreme southwestern Western Australia. The other, of smaller birds, is 
found in Wandoo E. wandoo — Salmon Gum E. salmonophloia woodland, or 
its remnants, in the wheat-belt northeast of Perth between Geraldton, 
Morawa, Mukinbudin, Northam and Jurien (Fig. 1). These 2 populations 
may have been joined formerly around either side of the Jarrah belt (see 
Serventy & Whittell 1976: Fig. 4) as recently as the mid 1800s (cf. Carter 

Table i 

Comparison of length of wing and culmen (mm) between populations of Cacatua pastinator 
in south- and mid- western Australia. The values for length of wing and culmen (from cere) 
are means ± the standard deviation. Superscripts to values of / indicate significance of 
difference, viz.: NS=not significant, *=o-o5 < p< 0*02, **=o-oi <! p<C o*ooi, *** = 

p< o-ooi. 


Latitude No. Wing 






Southern Long-bills 


11 315-9=1= 9-5-1 




Northern Long-bills 


15 3°27±9-9 { 




Short-bills from area of over 

- 3!- 2 9 

16 27674^5-3 1 


lap with long-bills 

5<7 g*** 

o*93 NS 

Short-bills from Pilbara 


11 266-6±8-6 / 



Southern Long-bills 


11 3o6-5±5-2 -s 




Northern Long-bills 


24 29i-9±8-7 < 


40-3 ±2- 1 4 


Short-bills from area of over- 


19 2697±4-6 <! 


lap with long-bills 

■ 2-26* 


o-i8 N s 

Short-bills from Pilbara 


9 262«4 = hl2'6-' 


Populations of short-bills overlapping the northern long-bills in Western 
Australia differ from them in size in just the same way as the 2 long-bills do 
from each other, but to a greater degree (Fig. 3, Table 1). A plot of length of 
wing and bill on latitude for short-bills and long-bills from the Pilbara 
district south (Fig. 4), taken from adults and immatures with adult propor- 
tions, suggests that all populations there once clined continuously from 
small size in the north to large in the south. Regression equations were not 
calculated because of limitations in the geographical spread of the data. 
Measurements of short-bills south of the Pilbara (boxed on graph) are 
consistent with other evidence (see above) that the southern short-bills came 
from the north, probably from the Pilbara. Their wings are, however, rather 
larger than those from the Pilbara but whether this is the result of the effect 
of latitude or of introgression with long-bills is not yet known. Significantly, 
bills do not differ (Table 1), probably because they respond to other factors 
such as hardness of ground and accessible sources of food. 

i 3 3 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

i * 

a • 


^ ft °J. »'i ft A A A rt ft ^ A i 1 . A ti it 


Fig. 4. Graph of length of bill (a) and wing (b) of female long- and short-billed corellas on 

different latitudes in the Pilbara and southwest of Western Australia. Solid squares represent 

the two populations of western long-bills and open circles all short-bills. Females were 

chosen because their samples were larger (see Table 1). 

The present pattern of distribution of long-bills and short-bills in Western 
Australia probably arose from a break-up of continuously grading popula- 
tions during one of the last Plio-Pleistocene cycles of aridity. At that time, 
telict populations of short-bills in the north on the major timbered rivers of 
the Pilbara district (2i°-2 5°S) probably became widely separated from long- 
bills further south (3o°-35°S). The situation today suggests that the long- 
bills are holding largely to their ancestral territory while the short-bills are 
colonizing ground lost to intermediate populations. 

Interaction between short-bills and western long-bills is difficult to assess 
at present because they have met so recently. Wherever we have observed 
them together they have tended to segregate in separate groups and sub- 
groups. How far this is maintained by an established communal system or by 
separate responses to subtle differences in contact calls is not yet known. 
Under these circumstances, there is no way of assessing even the potential 
of hybrids to compete and survive with bills neither as well fitted for digging 
nor for breaking fruit as those of parental types. Corellas appear to mate for 
life and are long-lived. Thus we are cautious about attaching much signifi- 
cance at this stage to sympatry in Western Australia, if only because cross- 
pairing has so far had little time and opportunity to manifest itself. The 
situation is being kept under observation and will be examined in more detail 
in a future paper. 

The weight of present evidence, taking all morphological, behavioural 
and temporal factors into account, favours combining the short-bills and 
western long-bills in one species, C. pastinator and separating the eastern 
long-bill, C. tenuirostris, as distinct. This corroborates the earlier opinion of 
Lendon (1968, 1973). We adopt this view with the proviso that short-bills 
and western long-bills may themselves prove to behave as 'good* species 
towards each other (see, e.g, Short (1969) for criteria). 

These forms and the subspecies that we recognize in Australian short-bills 
are detailed below. Certain patterns of variation among the short-bills, 
however, merit preliminary comment. There are 3 geographical entities, 
treated here as subspecies, that differ from each other in size and in the depth 
and extent of orange-red on the lores and in the down of the feathers on the 
head and neck. One, C. p. sanguinea, in Arnhem Land and the Kimberley 
Division (a in Fig. 1) is large and has little trace of pale orange-red on the 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979' 99(4)] 134 

lores and less or none in the down. The second (b in Fig. 1), C.p. gymnopis, 
in central western and central northern Australia southeast to Adelaide and 
the Murray River system, is smaller and the most extensively coloured on 
lores and down of any short-bill; neither Forshaw (1969, 1973) nor Condon 
(1975) distinguished this form from sanguinea. The third (c in Fig. 1), C.p. 
normantoni, on Cape York Peninsula, is the smallest and is intermediate in 
the amount of orange on the lores and down between sanguinea and gymnopis. 
There is little clinal intergradation and, indeed, character gradients are steep 
at zones of apparent secondary contact. The colour of periophthalmic skin 
also varies between these forms; that of sanguinea is pallid or whitish-grey (cf. 
C. goffini, C. ducorpsii), that of gymnopis leaden grey as in eastern and western 
long-bills, and that of normantoni is unrecorded. 

The large size of birds from Arnhem Land and the Kimberley Division, 
stressed by Saunders (1978), is contrary to Bergmann's Rule. Birds from the 
southwestern Kimberley are smaller (mean wing 288 mm for 10^: cf. 
mean wing 298 mm for 20^ from the northeast Kimberley (Kununurra)) 
and, like those on Groote Eylandt, have more orange tone to the lores and 
facial down than is usual. This probably reflects intergradation with gymnopis 
in Western Australia before the two were separated by the Great Sandy 
Desert (Fig. 1). Subspecies of the Spinifex Pigeon Geophaps p. plumifera 
from the Kimberleys and G. p. ferruginea of the Pilbara also merge there in 
similar circumstances (Crome et al. in press). Lacking specimens, we have 
little information yet on intergradation eastwards, from the Victoria to the 
Roper and McArthur Rivers in the Northern Territory. 

C. p. gymnopis varies insignificantly in size throughout its vast range in 
eastern Australia from the Murray River to the mid Northern Territory 
across 1 8 degrees of latitude, and does not approach C. p. normantoni clinally. 
In the west, in the Pilbara of Western Australia it is the same size as in the 
east, but, as mentioned above, becomes somewhat larger southwards. Colour 
on the lores and down parallels this pattern, being most extensively rich 
orange-red in southwestern populations and becoming clinally slightly paler 
and more pinkish (aff. C. tenuirostris) eastwards. 

C. p. normantoni is markedly smaller than adjacent populations of gymnopis 
to the south (cf. Bergmann's Rule) and similar in size to short-billed corellas 
in southern New Guinea (Mees, in prep.). It seems likely that it has been 
separated historically from the other Australian populations by two ornitho- 
logical barriers: the treeless Carpentaria Barrier (Macdonald 1969) stretching 
south from the eastern head of the Gulf of Carpentaria into central Queens- 
land, and the dry east-west Burdekin salient (Keast 1961) that reaches 
Townsville and is now colonized by corellas. 

Regional variation in the extent of yellow on the underwing has been 
discussed above and crosses the discontinuities in size and facial colour. 


1. Cacatua pastinator pastinator (Gould), 1841, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1840: 
175 CWestern Australia probably=Swan River, judging from Gilbert's itin- 
erary and measurements of the type). 

Characters: Size very large (wing ^297-327, 9$ 283-319 mm); bill long 
(culmen from cere $<$ 39-8-52-0, $? 37.4-49-7 mm); tail long (tail/wing 

135 [BuU.B.O.C.i 979 : 99 (4)] 

ratio 0*49-0' 5 1 usually); wing very broadly rounded and intensely sul- 
phur yellow underneath; crest long (47-56 mm usually); lores and facial 
down mid orange-red, feathering on foreneck mainly normal. 

Range: Southwestern Australia where there are two isolated populations — 
see Fig. 1. 

Notes: 26 adult males and 35 adult females were studied. Although the 2 
discrete populations differ in size (Table 1), they are combined under one 
subspecies because both are long-billed and were probably linked by primary 
clines until at least the middle of the last century. The type of pastinator, a 
male (Stone 191 3) with a wing of 305/307 mm and culmen of 42/43*3 mm 
(Gould 1 841, Frank B. Gill), is closest to the northern population in size. 

2. C.p. sanguinea Gould, Feb. 1843, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1842: 138 (North 
coast of Australia =Port Essington, Cobourg Peninsula). 

Characters: Size moderately large (wing g£ 264-310, §$ 257-302 mm); 
bill short (culmen from cere $£ 3 i«i— 36-5, $$ 28-3-36-6 mm); tail long 
(tail/wing ratio 0-50-0-52 usually); wing broadly rounded and strongly sul- 
phur yellow underneath; crest long (47-5 7 mm usually); lores and facial 
downwith faint trace of pale orange-red or colour lacking, feathering on fore- 
neck normal. 

Range: Kimberley Division and Arnhem Land — see a in Fig. 1. 

Notes: 40 adult males and 40 adult females were studied, including indivi- 
duals from islands off-shore from Arnhem Land (Melville, Groote and Maria) 
which are all a little smaller than populations on the adjacent mainland. 
Synonyms are distincta Mathews, subdistincta Mathews, apsleyi Mathews and 
derbyi Mathews (new synonym, cf. Condon 1975); rhodolorus Finsch was not 
proposed seriously and should be deleted as a new name for sanguinea Gould. 

3. C. p. gymnopis Sclater, 1871, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1871: 493 (interior of 
South Australia). 

Characters: Size moderately small (wing $£ 255—290, $$ 244-283 mm); 
bill short (culmen from cere $$ 26-5-32-8 (-37*8), $$ 27-0-33-3 mm); tail 
long (tail/wing ratio 0-47-0-50 usually); wing broadly rounded and usual- 
ly strongly sulphur yellow underneath; crest long (43-50 mm usually); lores 
and facial down pale to mid orange-red, feathering on foreneck normal. 

Range: Central western and inland eastern Australia but sparse and irregular 
in Gibson and Great Victoria Deserts — see b in Fig. 1. 

Notes: 53 adult males and 58 adult females were studied. All individuals 
with wings and bills longer than 280 mm and 33 mm respectively were from 
western Australia and may reflect past or present gene flow from nominate 
pastinator. Macdonald (1974), when claiming inland 'South Australia* as the 
type locality of gymnopis and not Port Essington as Mathews (191 7) had said, 
gave no characters by which gymnopis could be identified geographically. 
Sclater's description, with its reference to feather bases on neck and belly as 
well as head tinged reddish, indicates the inland form and corroborates the 
type locality that Sclater finally fixed on, namely 'interior of South Austra- 
lia*. Although selecting no type, Sclater clearly based gymnopis on a live 
bird in the London Zoo, and its illustration (Fig. 4 in Sclater) therefore typi- 
fies it {pace Macdonald 1974); Sturt's specimens from Milparinka are para- 
types. Synonyms are ashbyi Mathews and westralensis Mathews; note that 

[Bui/. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 136 

the type locality of ashbyi is Yanco Glen, north of Broken Hill, New South 
Wales {pace Condon 1975). 

4. C. p. normantoni Mathews, 1917, Bds. Australia 6: 211 (Normanton, 

Characters: Size very small (wing £ 248, $$ 238-246 mm); bill short 
(culmen from cere £ 30*1, $$ 28-1-29-6 mm); tail long (tail/wing ratio 0-47); 
wing rounded and strongly sulphur yellow underneath; crest rather long 
(41-42 mm); lores and facial down pale orange-red, feathering on foreneck 

Range: Western Cape York Peninsula — see c in Fig. 1. 

Notes: One male and 3 females were examined from AMNH from the origi- 
nal series taken by Robin Kemp at Normanton. There were no specimens avail- 
able in Australian museums, and the distribution of this form can only be 
estimated from sight records at present. 

5. C. tenuirostris Kuhl, 1820, Nova Acta Acad. Caesar. Leop. Carol. 10: 88 
('Nova Hollandia*=Port Phillip Bay). 

Characters: Size medium (wing $$ 268-288, $$ 255-278 mm); bill long 
and slender (culmen from cere $$ 46-3-52-6, §9 41-6-50-6); tail short (tail/ 
wing ratio 0-44-0-46 usually); wing pointed and faintly sulphur yellow 
underneath; crest short (33-34 mm usually); lores and facial down scarlet, 
the feathers proper on the foreneck reduced, downy and scarlet, like their 
aftershafts, and forming an exposed band of colour. 

Range: Southeastern Australia — see Fig. 1. 

Notes: 23 adult males and 24 adult females were studied. Dickison's 
(1928) restriction of the type-locality oi pas tinator to the You Yangs, Victoria, 
is not documented convincingly. His remarks merely show that KuhPs bird 
must have come from either Mornington Peninsula or the coast of Port 
Phillip Bay opposite (cf. also Mathews 1917: 215). The only synonym is 
nasicus Temminck. 

From the aspect of evolution it seems likely that eastern and western long- 
bills arose independently from short- billed corellas. Short-bills today have a 
bill of conventional cacatuine shape, a rounded wing, a moderately long crest, 
an extensive yellow wash under wing and tail, and normal feathering on the 
throat, all of which we judge to be ancestral (plesiomorphous) characters 
because they occur in other species of Cacatua. All of the distinctive features 
of C. tenuirostris, on the other hand, appear to be derived. Ancestral corellas 
were probably seed-eating birds that, like other Australian Cacatuini, won 
their food by picking it up off the ground. Finding fruit, they cracked and 
tore it open with the bill, just as short-bills do today. Past and present climates 
in southern Australia, cooler and with lowei evaporation, would have left 
the ground there softer for longer periods than in the north. Under these 
circumstances, selection evidently favoured local evolution of long bills that 
could dig for corms and bulbs as well. Today both the long-bills are special- 
ized feeders, foraging selectively on the subterranean corms and bulbs of 
native Lilialean herbs, and the introduced Romulea rosea (Lendon 1968, 
Saunders 1977) when not taking spills and sowings of wheat and other 
grains in agricultural districts. 

137 [Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 

The divergence of the long-bills and different subspecies of short-bills 
probably followed the break-up of a widespiead ancestral population and the 
isolation of its members in refugia throughout Australia during the climatic 
fluctuations of the Plio-Pleistocene. First, ptoto-tenuzrostris was split off in 
the southeast. Later, pioto-pastinator in the southwest, proto-j -anguine 'a in the 
northwest, proto- < g> wnopis in central Australia, and proto-normantoni in the 
northeast were separated, perhaps simultaneously or almost so. At the present 
time it is more important to clarify the nature and sequence of events than to 
speculate on their timing, but both the latter will be examined in more 
detail in a later paper. 

Acknowledgements: We wish to thank Messrs. M. L. Dudzinski and F. H. J. Crome, of 
CSIRO, Canberra, and Mr. S. A. Parker, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, for advice 
and assistance with the statistics and manuscript, and Messrs. L. Moore and J. Ingram for 
gathering data in the field. 

References : 

Carter, T. 191 2. Notes on Licmetis pastinator (Western Long-billed Cockatoo). Ibis Ser. 9(6) : 

Condon, H. T. 1975. Checklist of the Birds of Australia. 1. Non-Passerines. Royal Australasian 

Ornithologists Union: Melbourne. 
Crome, F. H. J., Carpenter, S. M. & Frith, H. J. In press. Geographic variation and 

taxonomy of the Spinifex Pigeons (Geophaps plumifera). Aust. J. Zoo I. 
Dickison, D. 1928. Type locality of the Corella. Emu 28: 82. 
Forshaw, J. M. 1969. Australian Parrots. Lansdowne Press: Melbourne. 

— 1973- Parrots of the World. Lansdowne Press: Melbourne. 
Gould, J. 1 841. Licmetis pastinator. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1840: 175. 

Hobbs, J. N. 1961. The birds of south-west New South Wales. Emu 61: 21-55. 

Keast, A. 1961. Bird speciation on the Australian Continent. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 

123: 305-495. 
Kornerup, A. & Wanscher, J. H. 1978. Methuen Handbook of Colour. 3rd Edn. (Revised by 

D. Pavey) Eyre Methuen: Perth. 
Lendon, A. H. 1968. The distribution of the Australian Psittacines (Order Psittaciformes — 

Parrots, Cockatoos, etc.). South Aust. Orn. 25; 3-17. 

— 1973' Australian Parrots in Field and Aviary. Angus and Robertson: Sydney. 
Macdonald, J. D. 1969. Notes on the taxonomy of Neositta. Emu 69: 169-174. 

— 1974. Name of southern subspecies of Little Corella. Emu 74: 195. 

Mathews, G. M. 191 2. A reference-list to the birds of Australia. Novit. Zool. 18: 171-446. 

— 1 91 7. The Birds of Australia, vol. 6. Witherby & Co: London. 

Mees, G. F. 1961. An annotated catalogue of a collection of bird-skins from West Pilbara, 

Western Australia./. Roy. Soc. W. Aust. 44: 97-143. 
Salvadori, T. 1891. Psittaci, or Parrots. Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum, vol. 20. 

British Museum (Natural History) : London. 
Saunders, D. A. 1977. Breeding of the Long-billed Corella at Coomallo Creek, W. A. Emu 

77: 223-227. 

— 1978. Measurements of the Little Corella from Kununurra, W. A. Emu 78: 37-39. 
Sclater, P. L. 1871. On animals in the menagerie. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1871 : 490-493. 
Serventy, D. L. & Whittell, H. M. 1976. Birds of Western Australia, 5 th ed. University of 

Western Australia Press : Perth. 
Short, L. L. 1969. Taxonomic aspects of avian hybridization. Auk 86: 84-105. 
Stone, W. 191 3. A list of the species of Australian birds described by John Gould, with the 

location of the type-specimens. Austral. Av. Rec. 1: 129-183. 

Addresses: Dr. R. Schodde and I. J. Mason, Division of Wildlife Research, CSIRO, P.O. 
Box 84, Lyneham, A.C.T. 2602, Australia. 

Dr. G. T. Smith, Division of Wildlife Research, CSIRO, Clayton Road, Helena Valley 
via Midland, Western Australia 6056. 

R. G. Weatherly, Connewarran, Mortlake, Victoria, 3272, Australia. 

© British Ornitholgists' Club. 

[Bull. B.O.C. 1979: 99(4)] 138 

The nest and eggs of the Bar- winged Weaver 

Ploceus angolensis 
by R. Stjernstedt & D. R. Aspinwall 

Received 9 May 1979 
Irwin & Benson (1966) describe a fallen nest, similar to those described 
below, which had been collected by C. J. Vernon in north western Zambia 
and was attributed to the Bar- winged Weaver Ploceus angolensis. There appears 
to be nothing else on record regarding the breeding of this miombo endemic 
species, which ranges, rather sparsely, westwards from Zambia to southern 
Zaire and Angola. 

Between December 1977 and October 1978 10 nests and one clutch of 
eggs were found by our assistants, principally G. and J. Sikombe, an